May 9, 2013, 10:43 PM EST
Despite the graduation of James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge, Long Beach State had the look of a team with enough pieces returning for the 2013-14 season to be considered a threat to win their fourth consecutive Big West regular season title.
However those hopes have taken a significant hit, as it was reported by West Coast Hoops Report that guards Keala King and Deng Deng and power forward Tony Freeland have all been dismissed from the program.
Freeland and King didn’t become eligible until late-December after transferring in from DePaul and Arizona State, respectively, but once eligible the two upperclassmen were key figures for the 49ers.
Freeland averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, and his addition allowed Ennis to move back to his natural position on the wing after having to play much of Long Beach State’s non-conference schedule as an undersized four.
King averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 43.5% from the field. Deng, a freshman from Long Beach, didn’t start a game this season but finished fourth on the team with 33 made three-pointers. With the departure of Ennis (55 3PM) and Pappageorge (51), who led the team in three-pointers made, he stood to see an increase in opportunities in 2013-14.
However that won’t happen, and the end result is likely even more responsibilities offensively for rising junior point guard Mike Caffey. Caffey averaged 12.0 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, earning first team All-Big West honors.
Head coach Dan Monson also welcomes back forward Dan Jennings (8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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