NOLAN POTTS ’DOAH STAFF WRITER
When a basketball team heads into a new season without its leading scorer from the previous year, there will be a lot of questions asked as to how they are going
to replace his production. That is what the S.U. men’s basketball team must answer entering their 2014-2015 season without last year’s lead scorer, Avery Green. “Avery not being here of course
is a loss for the team,” said junior Kyle Murph. “But that’s not going to stop us from being as good as we can be. We have a lot of talent on our team, and the absence of Avery means that people just have to step up to the plate and get it done.”
The team also lost another player due to graduation in point guard Bryce Mitchell. Mitchell was the team’s defensive anchor and leader vocally because of his intensity on and off the court. Mitchell has since joined Coach Rob Pryor’s staff as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. Also gone this year is assistant coach Allen Corbin, who left Shenandoah to go take an assistant coaching position at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Taking his place as the top assistant on the staff is David Matturo who previously served as the Director of Basketball Operations at Siena College and Mount St. Mary’s University. “Basketball without Coach Corbin was a little weird at first,” Murph, the Winchester native, stated. “Everyone was used to him and then this new guy comes in, but Coach M is a perfect fit for the team.”
Losing only two guys will be a benefit for the Hornets this season as they enter Pryor’s fourth season at the helm. The team has three seniors returning in Jared Carithers, Xavier Alston and guard Eli McEathron. Heading into the season, the squad will carry six juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen for a total of 20 players. Alston and junior Jimi Starks will serve as the team captains in 2014-2015. Murph thinks that the Hornets have one thing to improve on heading into this season, and that is putting the ball in the basketball when thy get open looks. “The biggest thing I think we need work on as a team is just hitting the open shots that we get,” he said. “When we run the offense correctly, we get each other wide open, and we just have to finish.”
After finishing last year 12-14 (4-12 in the ODAC), the other coaches in the conference picked the team to finish 11th this season in the ODAC Preseason Poll.
The team will look to prove the coaches and other doubters wrong and play like they did when they compiled a seven game winning streak last year from Dec. 15 to Jan. 13. Murph thinks that they can get on a run and be even better than last season. “My expectations for the team are that we are going to surprise a lot of people,” he said. “We were picked second to last in the standings for the ODAC, and people are over- looking us. I know what we are capable of, and I know that we will do well this year.”
The men will open their campaign with an exhibition game against a D1 program in George Mason on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. This game, which will be played at George Mason’s Patriot Center in Fairfax, will not count towards the Hornets’ overall record, but they feel it will give them some good experience playing against a high level of competition. Their first official game will take place inside Shingleton Gymnasium on Nov. 15 as they take on Cazenovia at 8 p.m. as part of the BB&T Tip-off Classic.