CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Dec. 8, 2012) – Without a starting point guard and sporting a roster with just seven scholarship players, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face a major challenge Saturday afternoon, as the Buccaneers travel to take on perennial national power and No. 20-ranked North Carolina inside the Dean E. Smith Center.
Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
Because of circumstance and injury, the Bucs are simply a shell of the team they expected to be at this point of the year. This has left head coach Murry Bartow focusing on the future, as he plays a group of youngsters and junior college transfers, and waits for the return of players such as talented senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and injured freshman point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.).
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notes link above. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
We are “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
After several years of quality returning players and at least some level of certainty regarding what to expect heading into the winter months, the 2012-13 ETSU men’s basketball team will enter the new campaign with several questions and concerns. ... The loss of standout seniors such as Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) will be hard to overcome, considering that group combined for a total of 3,091 points in their careers ... A year ago, the Bucs enjoyed quality wins such as a road victory over Atlantic 10 Conference foe Charlotte, and finished with a respectable 17 victories on the season. The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings at 10-8, reaching the league tournament semifinals. ... This season, the Bucs’ top two returning starters were guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. ... However, both Cooley and Dubose have been dismissed from the team for violation of team rules and policies ... Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU seniors to be returning after playing significant minutes last year, but Poderis is now lost for the season with a left foot injury and will be forced to redshirt, while Jones is academically ineligible for the first semester ... With so few returning, experienced players, ETSU will be looking to some unproven returning players, as well as a recruiting class that includes three incoming freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers, to come in and make an immediate impact. Sophomores Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and John Walton (Memphis), along with redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are expected to increase their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) will look to blossom into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton will need help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville). While they may have plenty of questions entering the season, the Bucs’ schedule will not provide much patience for development. The team will face teams such as North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Georgia in the opening weeks of the season, and will host 2011 Final Four participant VCU (Jan. 2) just days before the start of the Atlantic Sun Conference slate. The team will also enjoy a Christmas holiday trip to the Diamond Head Classic and face Arizona in the first round of that event on Dec. 22.
Last time out
HARRISONBURG, Va. (Dec. 5, 2012) – Without starting point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), the ETSU men’s basketball team had no answers for James Madison’s relentless defensive pressure and suffered a 70-45 setback Wednesday evening inside the JMU Convocation Center. ... The Dukes were obviously aware of McClain’s injury, as they immediately went to a full court defense from the start of the game and forced the short-handed Buccaneers to beat the press. It didn’t happen. ... Ultimately, the Dukes forced ETSU into 18 turnovers and got a team-high 17 points from guard A.J. Davis to cruise to the victory. For the Bucs, Lester Wilson (Knoxville) posted a game-high 21 points, while sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted 12 points in the game. ... The Bucs suffered through a nightmarish start in the first half, as James Madison exploited McClain’s absence and pressured ETSU relentlessly. As a result, JMU built a lead of as many as 15 points twice. ... ETSU did manage to get within 10 points of the Dukes on a couple of occasions, but ultimately trailed by 16 at 36-20 when JMU closed the half with a block and a layup by Andre Nation as time expired in the first half. ... The Dukes maintained their end-of-the-half momentum in the second frame, going on a 20-3 run in the first 10 minutes of the half to make it 56-23 with just over 10 minutes left. JMU put the game on auto pilot from there.
The series versus North Carolina
This will be the sixth time the Buccaneers have faced national power North Carolina ... ETSU is 0-5 all-time against UNC in the series, which dates back to 1970 ... The last time the two teams met was in 1987, a 118-65 win for the Tar Heels.
Bartow atop list of second generation coaches
Murry Bartow’s coaching lineage is undeniable ... As the son of the late Gene Bartow, he had the fortunate opportunity to grow up learning from one of the most successful basketball coaches in college history ... Setting off on his own career, Bartow has carried on the family tradition of success ... His 61 percent winning percentage at ETSU makes him the winningest Buccaneers’ head coach by percentage, and his 180 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 283 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation college coaches, besting the 252 wins by John Thompson III ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 931 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances have forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle in the early going this season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has still given the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is currently the nation’s top freshman scorer and is averaging 19.7 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball Thursday by ESPN hoops writer John Gasaway. The list – which included players such as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon – had Wilson ranked at No. 25. ... Currently the Atlantic Sun Conference’s leading scorer, Wilson has posted four 20-plus point games so far this season. Of those contests, he scored a career high 27 points in the win over Milligan back on Nov. 29, after scoring 26 in the Bucs’ previous win over Charleston Southern on Nov. 20.
Bucs get defensive in win at Charleston Southern
In their win against Charleston Southern, the Buccaneers held its opponent to just 28.8 percent shooting from the floor ... It was the first time since Feb. 26, 2009 that the Bucs have kept a team under 30 percent shooting in a game ... In that 2009 contest, ETSU held Kennesaw State to just 26.3 percent shooting from the floor.
Talented Bucs still face obstacle with experience
At no time in the tenure of ETSU head coach Murry Bartow have the Buccaneers had less experience ... Currently, the team has eight players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, of that group there is only four total years of Division I experience ... On average, that’s less than a half year of experience per player ... With four freshmen and two junior college transfers that means 66 percent of the team is competing in their first season of Division I basketball.
Bucs not feeling charitable at the line
In a strange statistical anomaly, the Buccaneers have not had a free throw made against them in back-to-back games, and in fact, they did not even allow a team a free throw opportunity in their game against Milligan … Against Georgia, the Bulldogs were 0-for-1 at the charity stripe … Meanwhile, Milligan did not even attempt a free throw against the Bucs on Nov. 29 … Going back to the 1984 season, this was the first time no team has made a free throw against the Bucs, much less in back-to-back games.
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 771 consecutive games. ... In that game back on Feb. 16, 1987, the Bucs were 0-for-8 in a loss to Davidson.
Junior college transfers set to power Bucs’ inside game
With the signing of junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville), the Bucs are hoping to have added some strength -- and beef -- to their inside game this season ... At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Gadsden-Gilliard is a rare combination of size and agility, while Harris is a high energy player who can rebound and block shots at a high level ... With the loss of senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) for the season due to a foot injury, the expectations for Harris and KGG have only risen. ... In the win over Charleston Southern, KGG and Harris combined for 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Walton on his way up the depth chart
After playing limited minutes a year ago, forward John Walton (Memphis) has been impressing the ETSU coaching staff during the preseason and through the first five games of the 2012-13 campaign ... After hinting that Walton would demand more playing time this year, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has started the 6-foot-7 sophomore in the Bucs’ first two games this season ... at Virginia Tech, Walton responded with career highs for points (8), rebounds (5) and minutes played (30), and then bested or matched those marks with another eight points and eight rebounds in the win over Charleston Southern ... He set new career marks for points (15), rebounds (9) and minutes (30) in the win over Milligan (11/29).
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball – marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 – the ETSU men’s basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Buccaneers -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT and one CIT berth, 14 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85 -- ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... It was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.