JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 2, 2018) – As preseason practice continues to heat up, the ETSU men’s basketball team announced earlier this week that it will hold an open practice session this Saturday, Oct. 6, inside the Center for Physical Activity (CPA) on campus beginning at 11:30 a.m.
The CPA, which is located next to William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, will provide a perfect location for fans to be able to take in the open practice, even if they are on campus for tailgating events prior to Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Gardner-Webb at 3:30 p.m. The practice is scheduled to conclude in time for fans to participate in the Buc Walk, which is scheduled for 1:15.
For the men’s basketball program, which began full preseason workouts last week, the season opener at Georgia State on Nov. 6 is only 35 days away. To learn more about the 2018-19 squad, see the team preview below or click on the links above.
As ETSU head coach Steve Forbes enters his fourth season with the Buccaneers, the program has maintained and strengthened its position as one of the preeminent mid-majors in the country.
In fact, Forbes has taken the Bucs to even higher levels of success, having totaled 76 victories and a .724 winning percentage during his first three seasons in Johnson City. At present, those numbers give Forbes the 14th highest win percentage among active NCAA Division I head coaches, and more wins than any other team in the Southern Conference during that span.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 25-win campaign in 2017-18, including a 16-game winning streak, which tied a program record and stood as the longest win streak in the country at one point during that run. The Blue and Gold also tied a program record with 11 true road wins a year ago and marked their third straight 20-win season under Forbes, having won 24, 27 and 25 games over the last three seasons. In addition, the Bucs made their third straight appearance in the SoCon Tournament title game.
As he has in his previous three seasons, Forbes and his staff will once again revamp their lineup this season with a mix of talent from the high school, junior college and D-I transfer ranks. In fact, this season may present even a bigger challenge than in the past, as the Bucs have graduated their entire starting lineup as well as some of the team’s top reserves. The loss of SoCon Player of the Year Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) and SoCon All-Conference selection Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) will be particularly tough, but the team will return talented youngsters such as reigning SoCon Freshman of the Year Bo Hodges (Nashville) and All-SoCon Freshman Team selection Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia). Other returning players for the Bucs include forward James Harrison Jr. (Dallas, Texas), while sophomore D-I transfer Patrick Good (Johnson City) and junior college forward Jerome Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) will make their long-awaited debuts this season. Good missed last season while sitting out after transferring from Appalachian State, while Rodriguez was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
The rest of the Bucs’ squad is comprised of skilled high school and junior college transfers, including JuCo All-Americans such as Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.) and Kevon Tucker (Dacula, Ga.), as well as talented transfers Tray Boyd III (Memphis), D’Andre Bernard (Toronto, Canada) and Octavion Corley (Reno, Nev.). From the high school ranks, freshmen Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Carlos Curtis (Milwaukee) are also expected to be potential contributors.
The Bucs will open their season on the road against Georgia State on Nov. 6, and will play three of their first four games of the year away from Freedom Hall. Trips to Creighton (No. 11) and Illinois (Dec. 15) highlight the schedule, along with participation in both the Cayman Island Classic (Nov. 19-20) and Sun Bowl Classic (Dec. 21-22). The team will initially open SoCon play with a game on Dec. 1 at Wofford, before beginning the heart of their league schedule with three straight home games starting Dec. 29 against rival Furman inside Freedom Hall. ETSU’s other main home league games will include visits from rivals Chattanooga (Jan. 5), UNCG (Jan. 19), Wofford (Feb. 7) and Mercer (Feb. 16).
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2018-19 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.