ETSU men officially open preseason practice Saturday
The ETSU men's basketball team goes through workouts Saturday morning.
ETSU men officially open preseason practice Saturday
Saturday, October 4, 2014

High hopes abound as Bucs begin preparations for season

            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2014) – With both an early morning and afternoon practice scheduled, the ETSU men’s basketball team officially began preseason workouts inside the Gordon Ball Court practice facility Saturday at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

            The Buccaneers will enter the 2014-15 season with high hopes, as the squad returns several key contributors to a team that won 19 games and advanced to postseason play last season.

            For more on the Bucs, click on the 2014-15 Quick Facts link located at ETSUBucs.com under the men’s basketball link. Fans can also read a portion of the Quick Facts preseason prospectus below:

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             The ETSU men’s basketball program enjoyed a solid campaign in 2013-14, winning 19 games on the year and earning a berth into the CollegeInsider.com Tournament ... The trip to the CIT marked the sixth postseason trip for the Bucs in head coach Murry Bartow’s 11 seasons at ETSU (three  NCAAs, one NIT and two CIT trips) ... In addition, the Bucs enjoyed a first round postseason tournament victory over Lipscomb in a thrilling double overtime game, while also giving Florida Gulf Coast a scare in the tournament semifinals in Fort Myers, Fla. ... ETSU went on to defeat longtime rival and newly-renewed conference foe Chattanooga in the first round of the CIT at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The key to success for the Bucs in 2013-14 was the play of an impressive backcourt and that group will return this year led by rising seniors Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with rising junior Lester Wilson (Knoxville) ... That trio accounted for over 50 percent of the team’s offensive production a year ago, with Rembert and Riley leading the team with 16.8 and 13.4 points per game, respectively ... In fact, Rembert set a school record for made 3-pointers on the year with 108 makes, and finished the season as one of the top outside threats in the country with a 43 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc ... Meanwhile, Riley finished third on the single season list with 169 made free throws, and as a team the Bucs set a new program  records with 656 makes and 877 attempts from the charity stripe as a team ... While that trio will return to lead the Bucs, the team will also return starters A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Petey McClain  (Mobile, Ala.) this season ... Merriweather is coming off a campaign in which he averaged 9.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game en route to all-freshman team honors, while McClain led the squad with 3.3 assists per game ... The one area of concern for the Bucs will be the frontcourt this year, as the team lost all of its contributors from a year ago ... This will leave a group that consists of returners like senior Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) and sophomore Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), along with newcomers such as senior transfer Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), junior Tommy Williams and freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) to make up for those losses ... Other players who are expected to contribute this season include sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.), who showed great potential at the end of last season, and freshman guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who was a Mr. Basketball selection during his senior year of high school ... The team is loaded with solid mid-major opponents such as Valparaiso (Nov. 14), Winthrop (Nov. 24), Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 16) and Tennessee Tech (Feb. 16), along with trips to programs such as VCU (Dec. 22) and Tennessee (Dec. 31) ... In addition, the team will make a highly-anticipated return to Southern Conference action and begin series once again with teams like Chattanooga, Western Carolina, UNC Greensboro, and former Atlantic Sun Conference rival Mercer.