ETSU men open 2012-13 hoops practice Friday
ETSU men open 2012-13 hoops practice Friday
Friday, October 12, 2012

Bucs begin campaign with several newcomers, but still high expectations

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2012) – Armed with a roster peppered with several new faces but also highlighted by plenty of talent and potential, the ETSU men’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 season with its first official preseason practice Friday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

ETSU head coach Murry Bartow will be working with a team that includes just four seniors, along with 10 players who are in either their first or second season at ETSU.

“We are going to rely on our seniors to provide us with quality minutes and to help lead our team,” Bartow said. “But our coaching staff likes the guys we’ve brought in, and we think they have the ability to come in and help us immediately. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also exciting.”

While the team will begin with regular practices over the next week, the Bucs will be introduced to the public on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m., as the team participates in the fifth annual Bluenanza basketball tipoff inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The team will then play its only preseason exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 3 against Carson-Newman, followed by the season opener Saturday, Nov. 10 at Virginia Tech.

For more on the Bucs’ upcoming season, see the preseason prospectus located below:

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 are guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU players to be returning after playing significant minutes last year.

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, Poderis and 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.

More preseason notes:

Projected Starters: With only two players returning to the roster with more than 20 starts from a year ago, the Buccaneers will enter the 2012-13 season with many questions regarding who will be in the roster’s top five ... Beside Cooley and Dubose, who had 26 and 22 starts, respectively, no other returning ETSU player had more than eight starts in 2012-13 ... With five eligible newcomers as they enter the year, several jobs will be open as the team begins preseason workouts.

Anticipated Strengths: Cooley, Dubose and Jones will give the Bucs three capable and tested scoring threats on the perimeter ... However, consistency from this trio is something the Bucs will need on the offensive end of the floor ... A year ago, those three combined to score 25.6 points per game ... Having played solid defense for the last four seasons, expect that focus to continue again in 2012-13. 

Anticipated Weaknesses: Unknowns and inexperience will be the biggest concerns for the Bucs in 2012-13, primarily because the team returns only a handful of players who have made major contributions to the team over the last several years ... The Bucs appear to have a strong crop of guards, but in the paint ETSU has only one player that reaches 6-foot-8 or taller ... In fact, the team will have just 4.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game from returning post players.

All-Conference Candidates:  Cooley and Dubose are the most talented returning players and have the best chance of earning postseason honors.

For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit can click on the men’s hoops link.

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