HONOLULU, Hawaii (Dec. 22, 2012) – In need of a win to break its current four-game losing streak, the ETSU men’s basketball team will have quite a challenge waiting during the first round of the Diamond Head Classic, hosted at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii.
The Buccaneers will open against Top 5-ranked Arizona, facing off with the Wildcats at 10:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday evening. The game will air live nationally on ESPNU, while also being available on the web at Watch ESPN.
While this game will be a challenge for the short-handed and inexperienced Bucs (2-7), ETSU does hold a 1-1 record all-time against Arizona, which includes a win in the last meeting between the two schools back in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below, or click on the game notebook 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 missed the first seven games of the year for academic reasons ... Jones returned against Ole Miss on Dec. 14 ... 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 has not provide much patience for development ... ETSU has faced 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, but will face nationally-ranked Arizona in the first round.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 18, 2012) – A 34-6 offensive run to end the first half and another 12-0 burst midway through the second half was too much for the ETSU men’s basketball team to overcome, as the Buccaneers dropped a 72-51 decision to an offensively streaky Charleston Southern squad inside historic Brooks Gym. ... In a non-conference battle between two teams that met earlier this season – a 59-57 win for ETSU back on Nov. 20 – the home-standing Bucs burst out to a 12-3 lead and looked good. However, at that point CSU ignited its offense and finished the first half with a 37-18 advantage. ... ETSU rallied in the second half to get to within eight points at 49-41, but Southern responded once again by outscoring the Bucs 23-10 the rest of the way to seal the victory. ... CSU got a game-high 25 points from guard Arlon Harper, while Jeremy Sexton and Cedrick Bowen pitched in 15 and 14 points, respectively. Meanwhile, ETSU freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) scored in a team-high 16 points, while senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) netted 13 in the losing effort. ... Shooting 47 percent from the floor and an impressive 43 percent from 3-point range, Southern also held a 42-28 advantage on the boards and hit on 72 percent of its free throws in a statistically impressive performance. ... Meanwhile, ETSU was a disappointing 6-of-29 from 3-point range (21 percent) and committed 14 turnovers in the game. From the field, the Bucs were just 21-of-59 (37 percent) and took only five free throws the entire night.
ETSU’s history at the Diamond Head Classic
The ETSU men’s basketball team will be making its third trip to Hawaii’s Christmas tournament -- previously known as the Rainbow Classic. The Bucs are 2-4 in their two earlier trips to the tournament, with a win over eventual SEC Tournment Champion Georgia back in 2007 as the team’s major highlight in previous visits to the islands ... Here is a breakdown of the team’s previous games in the event:
vs. IUPUI (L, 81-85)
vs. Lamar (W, 75-62)
vs. American (L, 66-71)
vs. Georgia (W, 76-58)
vs. St. Mary’s (65-89)
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (80-82)
The series versus Arizona
The Bucs are 1-1 all-time against the Wildcats, having won the last meeting between the two schools 87-80 back in 1992 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Atlanta, Ga. ... ETSU’s lone loss to Arizona occurred in the 1991 Preseason NIT, a 88-79 defeat in Tucson, Ariz.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used eight different starting lineups in the team’s nine games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU coaching staff searching for the right combination to start games, as the team currently stands 2-7 on the year.
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 tradition. ... His 60 percent winning percentage at ETSU makes him the winningest ETSU head coach by percentage, and his 181 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 284 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... 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 averaging 18.1 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 third best 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.
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 nine players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, of that group there are only five 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.
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).
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 774 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.
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.
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.