November 14, 20151st2ndFinal
Averett263359
ETSU4760107
Stats at a GlanceAUMETSU
FG Percentage.317 (20-63) .538 (35-65)
3P FG Percentage.207 (6-29) .227 (5-22)
FT Percentage.619 (13-21) .821 (32-39)
Offensive Rebounds1214
Defensive Rebounds2135
Total Rebounds3349
Turnovers219
Steals39
Bench Points2441
LeadersAUMETSU
PointsBradley Robinson - 13
Austin DeLucia - 13
T.J. Cromer - 19
Ge'Lawn Guyn - 19
ReboundsTEAM - 8
A.J. Merriweather - 10
AssistsJames Contreras Jr. - 3
Ge'Lawn Guyn - 5
StealsTrevor West - 1
Saadiq Johnson - 1
Austin DeLucia - 1
A.J. Merriweather - 5
BlocksGe'Lawn Guyn - 2
Deuce Bello - 2
Toriano Stokes - 2
PREVIEW: Bucs welcome Averett for opener Saturday at Freedom Hall
The ETSU men's basketball team will face Averett Saturday at Freedom Hall. Tip is set for 4 p.m.
PREVIEW: Bucs welcome Averett for opener Saturday at Freedom Hall
Friday, November 13, 2015

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 13, 2015) – The official start of the Steve Forbes’ era for ETSU men’s basketball has arrived, as the Buccaneers will host Averett University Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.

The regular season home opener for the Bucs will feature two teams that are meeting for the first time. This will also be ETSU’s only regular season game before playing on national television courtesy of ESPN2, as the Bucs will take on Green Bay at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17th as part of ESPN’s 24-hour basketball marathon.

Fans unable to make the trip to Freedom Hall on Saturday can listen to the game via the Buccaneer Sports Network’s family of radio stations, can watch on-line via live video streaming courtesy of SoConDigitalNetwork.com, and can also listen via their smart phones by downloading the iHeart App and searching for ETSU’s flagship station WXSM-AM 640.

For more on the game with Averett, click on the game notebook link to the right, or read the game notes provided below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.

 

Game Notes

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 University 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.

 

The Steve Forbes era begins

It seems like only yesterday that Steve Forbes was named the 16th head coach in the history of ETSU basketball back on March 30, 2015 ... But seven months later and the Bucs are ready to begin the Forbes’ era ... Having most recently served two seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State where he helped take the Shockers to the Sweet 16 in 2014-15, Forbes has been heralded for his recruiting ties and his extensive background as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level – which included a five-year stop at the University of Tennessee ... Complete bio information on Forbes can be found at ETSUBucs.com and general coaching records and other statistics are available on Page 2 and Page 5 of this media notes package.

 

Buc bits

It is a new day for the ETSU men’s basketball program, as the Buccaneers welcome first-year head coach Steve Forbes and his assistant coaching staff to the program for the 2015-16 season ... Forbes, a highly successful assistant coach at the Division I level at programs such as Tennessee, Wichita State and Texas A&M, wasted no time revamping the ETSU roster, as the program’s lineup has not seen this much restructuring since the start of the 1997 season ... Returning just six players from last season’s squad, Forbes and company have utilized their vast recruiting ties to bring in 10 new players to the program … This group of 10 will include four transfers from Division I programs such as Cincinnati, Indiana, Missouri and Witchita State, along with four junior college transfers and two incoming high school prospects.

 

A brief look back at 2014-15

The Buccaneers are coming off an up-and-down season in 2014-15, a year that ended when the Bucs dropped a quarterfinal matchup with Western Carolina in the Southern Conference Tournament, finishing at 16-14 and 8-10 in SoCon play.

 

Returning players to be counted on in ’15-16

As for returning players from last year’s squad who are expected to provide valuable minutes this year, junior forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) leads the group after averaging 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a year ago, while providing the Bucs valuable defensive skills with a 1.3 steals per contest … Along with Merriweather, the Bucs also return senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who averaged 12.6 points a game last season, senior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), who finished with a team-high 3.1 assists per contest, sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who averaged 4.1 points per game, and junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), who finished with 2.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a game in limited action a year ago.

 

Newcomers galore for Forbes and company

While Merriweather, McClain, Wilson and Bradford return in the backcourt, the Bucs have also added a wealth of talent at those positions with the addition of a pair of Division I senior transfers Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) from Cincinnati and Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) from Missouri … Both Guyn and Bello completed their degrees at their previous schools, meaning both are eligible to compete immediately at ETSU, and both are expected to play extensive minutes this season … In addition, junior college transfer T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) joins the Bucs after a successful career as a point producer at Columbia State, and true freshman Shemar Johnson (Columbus, Miss.) brings exceptional height to the wing position at 6-foot-6 … In the frontcourt, Banks is the lone returning player but is joined by 7-foot center Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan), who sat out last season with ETSU after transferring from Indiana … Along with those two, the Bucs have also added help for the inside game this season by signing junior college transfers Nigel Holley (Wilmington, N.C.) and Abednego “Benny” Lufile (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), as well as true freshman post Toriano Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.) … Beyond those players that will be eligible this season, the Bucs have also added Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Greensboro, N.C.) who will miss this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

 

The series vs. Averett

This will be the first ever meeting between the Bucs and Averett.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 5, 2015) – Featuring a full court man-to-man defense and an unselfish offensive style of play, the ETSU men’s basketball team opened the era of first-year head coach Steve Forbes with a convincing 109-77 exhibition win over Tusculum College inside Freedom Hall ... Led by a game-high 20 points from senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) and 19 points from fellow senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), the Buccaneers shot a sterling 57 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range. With no one playing more than 22 minutes in the contest, Forbes said ETSU’s depth was on display. ... Along with Bello and Guyn, junior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) played a solid 15 minutes with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals, while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) pitched in 12 points. The Bucs outscored the Pioneers 54-18 in the paint and outrebounded Tusculum 43-28 on the evening. ... Bello certainly lived up to the preseason hype during the first 20 minutes against the Pioneers, scoring nine straight points to power a 17-3 offensive run and staking the Bucs to a 21-9 lead midway through the half. During that stretch, Bellow sprang off the floor for an electric put-back dunk and also connected on back-to-back 3 pointers. He finished with 16 points in the first half. ... While the offense ultimately shot 54.5 percent from the floor and 57 percent from 3-point range in the first half, the Bucs’ also deployed a full court man-to-man defense for the entire 20 minutes and held the Pioneers to just 38 percent shooting from the floor. ETSU also forced eight turnovers before the break.

 

Forbes announces signing of Williams Jr. to NLI

ETSU men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes and his staff announced Thursday that Jason Williams Jr. (Detroit, Mich.) has signed his national letter of intent to play for the Buccaneers beginning with the 2016-17 season. ... Williams, a 6-foot point guard out of Detroit Allen Academy, is entering his senior year of high school as a three-year starter and a 1,000-point scorer. In fact, Williams has a total of 1,259 points in three seasons at the prep level and is just 315 points shy of his school’s scoring record. In addition to those offensive numbers, Williams has also accumulated a school record 387 assists and 200 steals in his career, to go along with 292 rebounds. ... Williams is the first signee to the Buccaneers’ 2016-17 recruiting class.

 

Bucs back on ESPN during 24-hour hoops marathon

When the Buccaneers take on Green Bay at 6 a.m. on Nov. 17th as part of ESPN’s 24-hour college basketball marathon, it will be the first time the Bucs have hosted an ESPN network television broadcast since the championship game of the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. ... ESPN2 broadcast that game back in 2007, and the same will hold true as ETSU takes on the Phoenix Tuesday morning.

 

Bucs picked 4th; Merriweather named All-SoCon

The ETSU men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference standings by both the league’s coaches and media, according to the preseason polls released by the league office on Thursday. ... While Chattanooga was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the league and the Mocs’ Casey Jones was selected as the preseason player of the year, ETSU junior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) was named to the SoCon preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams or student-athletes as part of the balloting.

 

Challenging schedule awaits new-look Bucs

As for the season itself, the Bucs will enjoy several quality matchups, including road games at Villanova (Nov. 20), Georgia Tech (Nov. 22) and Tennessee (Dec. 22), as well as home games against quality opponents such as Green Bay (Nov. 17), UNC Wilmington (Nov. 28), Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 18), Chattanooga (Feb. 13) and Wofford (Feb. 27). ... Even more exciting for the Bucs will be playing the Green Bay game as part of the ESPN 24-hour College Hoops Marathon, as the teams will square off at 6 a.m. on Nov. 17.

 

VIP Seen publishes first Game Time Magazine for hoops

For the first time ever, ETSU fans can get a comprehensive look at both the men’s ane women’s basketball teams by purchasing the first-ever collector’s edition of ETSU Game Time Magazine published by VIP Seen Magazine. ... Game Time is available for purchase at local Roadrunner Markets, Food City locations, and at the ETSU campus bookstore. ... Full of preseason information, rosters, players profiles, a spring preview, and more, Game Time Magazine makes a perfect gift for any ETSU fan.

Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years

Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 859 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

Wilson eyeing program’s 3-point record

Already a 1,000-point scorer, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has an opportunity to put his name in the ETSU basketball record books again this season as the most prolific 3-point shooter in school history ... Currently ranking 5th on the career list with 210 makes from beyond the arc, Wilson finds himself 66 makes behind the program leader Courtney Pigram, who made 276 3-pointers during his career from 2005-09 ... Wilson has averaged 70 makes a year during his previous three seasons at ETSU, meaning if he can replicate his “average” this year he should have a shot to take the top spot.

 

McClain making place next to ETSU’s greatest PG

ETSU fans have fond memories over former point guard and All-American Keith “Mister” Jennings, who is considered the program’s greatest player ... What many fans may not realize is that current point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) is quietly making a place next to Jennings in the ETSU record books ... Currently, McClain ranks No. 2 next to Jennings on the Bucs’ all-time assist/turnover ratio list, making him one of the two best guards in school history for protecting the basketball ... McClain also entered the year ranking in the Top 10 all-time for total assists (10th) and assists per game (6th). ... In fact, McClain matched his career high with 11 assists in the loss to Tennessee (12/31). ... A year ago, McClain ranked first in the SoCon and 8th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.1, and was second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.2 a contest.

 

Bradford provides spark, shows signs of a bright future

With several key contributors not available for a game with Furman back on Feb. 14, 2015, freshman guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) was given his first career start and played career high 26 minutes ... He responded during those minutes -- especially in the final five minutes of the game when he hit a pressure-packed 3-pointer and scored seven straight points to seal the victory in an otherwise tight game ... Bradford has shown signs of this potential before ... With the Bucs trailing Wofford on Feb. 5, Bradford gave fans a glimpse of what could be a bright future for the former Mr. Basketball winner from the state of Tennessee ... During the final five minutes of that contest, Bradford scored 14 points and collected three steals.

 

Bucs postseason resume ranks among mid-major bests

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) ... A year ago, the Bucs made their second trip all-time to the CIT Postseason Tournament, marking the program’s 13th postseason tournament appearance all-time ... In the Bucs first CIT appearance, ETSU went 2-1 with wins over Furman and Ohio, advancing to the tournament semifinals before losing to Iona in a hard-fought 83-80 contest at the Dome ... Last year, the Bucs went 1-1, defeating fellow Southern Conference member Chattanooga before falling to Towson in the quarterfinals.