JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 27, 2013) – With recent changes to the NCAA regulations regarding preseason basketball practice, the ETSU men’s basketball team opened official workouts Friday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
This year, head coach Murry Bartow will be working with a roster that returns just seven players from the 2012-13 squad, and the veteran coach has also added a total of eight new players to the lineup. Beginning practice on Sept. 27 is certainly a change, considering official preseason practices in previous seasons usually began three weeks later.
“It is certainly a change from past seasons, but we’re excited to begin full workouts and start preparing for the season,” Bartow said. “The makeup of the team is different, but we are expecting our returning players to provide leadership and production, and we’re also ready to see what the new guys can bring to the team.”
While the Bucs have been participating in regular conditioning drills and other limited practice since the beginning of the fall semester, the team will now continue with full workouts until the start of the season. The Bucs plan to practice both Saturday and Sunday, before taking a day off on Monday for academic work.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball and a preseason review of the team, click on the 2013-14 Quick Facts link located to the right.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
2013-14 Quick Facts Outlook
General Information: The ETSU men’s basketball program was glad to see the 2012-13 campaign come to an end, following a season which saw the team face multiple obstacles and challenges -- such as a brutal schedule that featured the likes of North Carolina, Arizona, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii.
Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the season with ankle injury that he suffered in the preseason, senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) being academically ineligible for the first two months of the year, and two other senior guards who were expected to be major contributors were dismissed from the team in early November for violations of team rules. This left head coach Murry Bartow and his coaching staff with a young, inexperienced group of underclassmen, several true freshmen, one redshirt freshman and a pair of junior college transfers.
Those obstacles proved to be tough to overcome, as the Buccaneers posted a 10-22 record and finished 8-10 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. It was the toughest campaign in Bartow’s 10 seasons at ETSU, a tenure that has produced many championships, postseason tournament appearances and 20-win campaigns. In all, Bartow’s teams have earned three NCAA Tournament invitations (2004, 2009 and 2010), one NIT appearance (2007), and one CIT berth (2011), and the Bucs have eclipsed 20 wins five times.
This year, the Bucs will once again take to the floor with a young squad made up of several new faces. In fact, despite the return of the 6-fooot-9 Poderis, the Bucs have just five players back this season who played significant minutes a year ago.
The leading scorer in that group is Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman Team selection Lester Wilson (Knoxville, Tenn.). This 6-foot-4, 200-pound redshirt sophomore wing averaged 13 points and five rebounds a game last season. Meanwhile, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) became an offensive threat, developing one of the A-Sun’s best 3-point shooting strokes and finishing with an average of 8.9 points per game … Along with Wilson and Rembert, senior forwards Hunter Harris (Nashville) and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), as well as sophomore point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) will round out the list of returning players. A year ago, Harris averaged 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game, while McClain led the team with 3.2 assists per contest.
Bartow’s staff has added two true freshmen and three transfers to the mix this year. This group includes freshmen A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), Devin Harris (Tampa) and Isaac Banks (New Orleans), as well as junior college transfers Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), Darius Forrest (Jackson, Miss.) and Leonard Smith Jr. (Hickman, Ky.). In addition, Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.), a 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward, joins the active roster after spending the last year in Johnson City following his transfer from Big East Conference member Providence.
Bartow’s schedule this year is loaded with home games against solid mid-major opponents such as Winthrop (Nov. 19), Samford (Nov. 21), Valparaiso (Nov. 26), Marshall (Nov. 30) and Austin Peay (Dec. 21). In addition, the team will also open the season at Charlotte (Nov. 8), and play at Georgia Tech (Dec. 7) and at Western Kentucky (Nov. 16) before beginning conference play.
Projected Starters: Five players on the current roster started at difference times during the 2012-13 season, but with so many new faces on the roster several jobs are open this season … Having averaged 13 points a year ago and played at an All A-Sun level, Wilson figures into the mix as a starter, as does Harris – who started 28 games a year ago.
Anticipated Strengths: With so many unknowns leading into this season, the Bucs will be counting on several players to come in and make an immediate impact … Wilson is a quality scorer and Rembert has developed into a reliable outside shooter.
Anticipated Weaknesses: The Buccaneers’ zone defense struggled to contain opponents last season and Bartow’s staff will certainly look to improve on that end of the floor this season … Offensively, the Bucs must become more proficient scoring the basketball.
All-American Candidates: With a relatively young, inexperienced team, no players stand out as All-America candidates.
All-Conference Candidates: Wilson is capable of all-conference numbers, and Poderis could earn postseason honors.
Best all-around player -- Lester Wilson
Most likely to blossom -- Hunter Harris
Player on the rise -- Rashawn Rembert
Most underrated -- Lukas Poderis
Best newcomer -- Jalen Riley