Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:34 am

Eight frosh bring optimism to UNC-Wilmington

Jeff Borzello

WILMINGTON, N.C. – It might not show in the win column, but there is a sense of rejuvenation at UNC-Wilmington.

Yes, the Seahawks are only 3-7, but they did beat 8-3 Illinois State on the road, and have also hung tight with Maryland, Davidson and Wake Forest. Another example of renewed excitement in the program was Monday’s comeback win over Campbell, capped by a Matt Wilson tip-in with 1.4 seconds left.

“It means a lot,” junior forward Keith Rendleman said. “Going into the season, we knew we had a great freshman class. This was more about coming together. It may help us make a run in this league.”

After last season’s 13-18 campaign, head coach Buzz Peterson welcomed eight freshmen into the fold this year. Adam Smith has been the star, averaging 15.3 points and starting at the point guard spot. Cedrick Williams and K.K. Simmons have also been staples in the lineup, while Craig Ponder was the team’s best facilitator until an injury sidelined him.

Freddie Jackson provides a boost off the bench. Luke Hager, the team’s highest-rated recruit, will take a medical redshirt. Nate Anderson and Dylan Sherwood give minutes here and there, as well.

“We can’t hold back,” sophomore Dante Morales said. “Some of us only have two more years, three more years. We’ve got to come together.”

Fortunately, there is only one senior and two juniors in the rotation, meaning Peterson has the pieces to be an upper-half Colonial team within the next couple of years. The Seahawks haven’t had a winning season since 2007-08, when T.J. Carter led Benny Moss’ troops to a 20-13 record.

While UNCW might struggle to another poor season this year, there is certainly optimism in the locker room.

“We’re a way better team than we were at the beginning of the year,” Rendleman said. “We’re becoming more of a team now.”

Bouncing back from a 28-turnover performance against VCU to beat a talented Campbell team is something Seahawks teams of the past few years would have trouble doing. They took care of the ball, only giving it up five times. They also overcame horrendous shooting and a 2-for-12 outing from Smith to get the win.

Getting a win without hitting on all cylinders bodes well for UNC-Wilmington in the future. Peterson is excited about the possibilities in the program.

“We know what it’s like now,” Peterson said. "I think it will help them, give them some of the confidence they need.”

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:39 pm

CAA Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

CAA Offseason Report

Delaware – Phil Martelli Jr. came from Niagara and took the spot opened when R.C. Kehoe left to become the head coach at Holy Family. Delaware will play at Villanova (11-18), at BU (11-30), vs. La Salle (12-19) and vs. Temple (12-30) in the non-conference. Malcolm Hawkins transferred out of the program while Carl Baptiste (St. Joe’s) came in and will sit out this year.

Drexel – The Dragons will play in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands from Nov. 18-21. Bruiser Flint’s team has a non-league schedule that includes games at Rider (11-15), at St. Joe’s (11-30), vs. Bradley (12-17) and vs. Princeton (12-10).

George Mason – New coach Paul Hewitt has put together the following staff: Roland Houston (GW), Mike Wells (NBA), Chris Kreider (Georgia Southern) and retained director of basketball operations Scott Lombardi. The Patriots will play in the Preseason NIT (the Virginia Tech pod) and open against Florida International. Hewitt’s team will also have non-league games at Virginia (12-6), vs. Duquesne (12-21) and at College of Charleston (12-30). Luke Hancock (Louisville) and Rashad Whack (Mount St. Mary’s) left while George Mason added Anali Okoloji (Seton Hall).

Georgia State – Ron Hunter came over from IUPUI and assembled the following staff: Darryl LaBarrie, Everick Sullivan, Claude Pardue and Tony Bollier as the director of basketball operations. The Panthers will play in the Basketball Travelers Invitational at Washington along with Portland and FAU. Georgia State will also play Rhode Island (12-10) in a non-conference contest. Two players transferred out – Javonte Maynor and Harold Doby – while Manny Atkins has come in from Virginia Tech and will sit out this season. Jordan DeMercy will be eligible this year after transferring from Florida State.

Hofstra – Pat Sellars, formerly at UConn, has replaced Allen Griffin (Dayton). The Pride will be in the Legends Classic and also play home non-league games against Long Island (11-13), and Iona. Paul Bilbo (Mercyhurst), Roland Brown and Yves Jules (Fairleigh Dickinson) all transferred out while Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (UConn) and Taran Buie (Penn State) both came in. Stevie Mejia (URI) is also eligible after sitting out last season.

James Madison – Bill Phillips replaced Kevin Hargrove as the director of basketball operations. The Dukes will play in the Hoop Group Classic (11-22/25) and will also be at Central Florida’s Holiday Tournament, along with Rhode Island and Stetson, from 12-29/30. JMU will also play against Kent State (12-6) and at George Washington (12-22) in the non-conference schedule. Chad Jackson transferred to Northern Kentucky while A.J. Davis is eligible this season after transferring from Wyoming a year ago.

Northeastern – Bill Coen’s team will play at St. John’s (11-26), at N.C. State (12-22) and at home against Southern Illinois (11-19) in the non-conference. Alex Harris transferred out while Kashif Edwards, who averaged 12.4 points last season at Niagara, came in as a grad student and is eligible for this season.

Old Dominion – The biggest news of the offseason for the Monarchs is the missing ‘stache. Actually, coach Blaine Taylor got ride of his famous mustache. Drew Williamson replaced Joel Hines as the director of basketball operations and ODU added video coordinator Chris Kovensky. Old Dominion will be in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off (11-19/20) and also have a non-conference slate that includes games vs. Iowa (11-12), vs. Missouri (12-30) in Norfolk, at Richmond (12-20) and at Central Florida (12-17). Donte Hill becomes eligible on Dec. 17 after transferring in from Clemson last year.

Towson – New coach Pat Skerry hired Kevin Clark (Rhode Island), Luke Murray (Wagner), Kenny Johnson and Duane Simpkins as his director of basketball operations. The Tigers will play in the Mainland portion of the Maui Invitational and also have non-league contests at Kansas (11-11), at Michigan (11-14), vs. Oregon State (11-26), at UMass (11-30) and at Virginia (12-30). Isaiah Philmore (Xavier), Braxton Dupree, Dre Conner and Cephas Oglesby all left while Jerrelle Benimon (G’Town) and Mike Burwell (South Fla.) both transferred in.

UNC-Wilmington – Buzz Peterson’s team is currently in the Bahamas. Matt McMahon (Murray State) and Kevin Norris (FGCU) both left; Brooks Lee was promoted to assistant coach, Andre Gray was hired and the director of basketball operations spot remains open. The Seahawks will play at Maryland (11-13), at Dayton (11-19), vs. Marshall (11-22), vs. Davidson (11-26) and at Wake Forest (12-21) in the non-league. Matthew Wallace transferred out of the program.

VCU – Mike Jones (Radford) and Kyle Getter were replaced by Jamion Christian (William & Mary) and new director of basketball operations Mike Morrell (Charleston Southern). The Rams will play in the Charleston Classic and also have a non-league slate that includes games at Alabama (11-27), at Western Kentucky (11-23), vs. South Florida (11-30), at Akron (12-29), vs. UAB (12-20), vs. Richmond (12-10) and against George Washington on Dec. 4 in the BT&T Classic in D.C. Toby Veal left the program.

William & Mary – Kotie Kimble replaced Jamion Christian, who left for VCU. The Tribe will play in the Coaches vs. Cancer event and also have non-conference contests vs. Richmond (11-30), at Missouri (12-18) and vs. Iona (12-21).

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