College basketball is here and today all the coaches were there at the Greensboro Coliseum for the 14th Annual Tom Ward Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon and Press Conference.
Rich Brenner, Greg Kerr, Joe Sierra, and Rob Goodman were on hand to question the coaches and GREENSBOROSports.com was in attendance with Don Moore, Doug Cockman, and Andy Durham.
The head coaches for the area men’s and women’s teams all spoke about their upcoming seasons and Don Moore should have much of that discussion coming your way soon on video at GREENSBOROSports.com.
Elon, UNCG, NC A&T, High Point, Guilford, Greensboro College, and even GTCC were all represented. Bennett College was the only team absent and they had a good excuse becasue they were out of town for a game at Roanoke College in Elizabeth City.
The UNCG men will be led by All-American candidate Kyle Hines and the Spartans have a exhibition game tonight against Greensboro College at 7pm in the Fleming Gym on the UNCG campus.(seating capacity 1,891) The Spartan men open up the regular season Friday night at Georgia Tech.
NC A&T returns pre-season All-MEAC player Steven Rush out of Greensboro Day School. Rush is one of the best 3-point shooters in the nation. The Aggies have games at DePaul, Tennessee, Missouri, Akron, Miami of Florida, and Washington all coming up on the road this season. Coach Jerry Eaves is a 1986 graduate of Louisville, and a member of the 1986 NCAA champions that defeated the Duke Blue Devils for the title. The NC A&T Aggies plan on being MEAC champs this season.
Guilford College has pre-season NCAA Division III Player of the Year, Big Ben Strong returning, and the Quakers just got back from playing the South Carolina Gamecocks in a scrimmage game in Columbia on Monday night. The Quakers lost by 36 but they out-rebounded the Gamecocks inside with Big Ben leading the way. Guilford plays at Greensboro College on November 28 at 7:30, a game that used to be played in the Greensboro Coliseum.(the Coliseum game had been played every year since 1992-93)
Greensboro College went 20-7 in 2006-07 and the Pride plan on taking their game a step furthur this season with three returning starters; Michael McDuffie, Adam Nicholson, and Bruce Zamuel back in the fold. One of the best players in school history, Lynn Bright, and his 17.4 ppg average have departed from coach Bryan Galuski’s squad. GC opens up the regular season against Plattsburg State at the Old Westbury Tournament.
High Point University, a member of the Big South Conference has one of the country’s most dynamic players, Arizona (AZ) Reid back for his senior season and he has been named pre-season Player-of-the Year. Last year he became the first player in league history to average 20 points and nine rebounds in one season for the 22-10 Purple Panthers. HPU will be in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament meeting Utah in game one and later the Panthers will travel to face the two-time defending National Champion Florida Gators.
The Elon Phoenix and coach Ernie Nestor were 7-23 in ’06-07 and something needs to happen quick to bring Elon back to life in ’07-08. The Phoenix get a chance to to find out in a hurry if there is life after near-death when they travel to face the Virginia Tech Hokies this Friday night. Before the Christmas break the Phoenix will visit the Georgia Bulldogs, Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, the Penn Quakers up in Philadelphia and then it’s on to Charlottesville to face the Virginia Cavaliers. Elon will count heavily on 5th-year senior Montell Watson to pace the offense.
The GTCC Titans will play their home games at the GTCC-Ragsdale YMCA in Jamestown and coach Phil Gaffney has kids on his team from High Point Central(Chris Ealy), High Point Andrews(Ross Richardson), Southeast Guilford(Cornell Holland), and Southwest Guilford(Josh Wyatt). The top returning Titans are Vince Davis 10.3 ppg(37 points in the regionals) and Marcus Short 9 ppg and 7.4 rpg.
The women’s coaches were led by Tooey Loy of High Point University. Loy, a former bartender at Players Sports Bar on West Market Street and a former HS hoops player at Eastern Alamance, was cracking some good jokes and kept the listeners entertained. Last year his HPU team won the conference at 11-3 and closed out at 18-12 overall. Loy lost quite a few players off of last year’s squad. Coach Lynne Agee of UNCG told me that she has a number of injured players in the pre-season and the Spartans open up with a tough opponent in NC State on Sunday in Raleigh. Coach Agee needs her point guard Kristen Boone healthy to make things happen.
NC A&T coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs saw her Aggie ladies finish at 17-13 last year and she is hoping that the team defense will carry her women to the top of the MEAC this season. Coach Bibbs is just three wins shy of 400 career victories and she will reach that milestone in 2007-2008, no problem.
Jason Tuggle had his Greensboro College Pride at 18-9 last season but that was with USA South Player of the Year Staci Humphrey and she has taken her 24.8 ppg, 7.1 rebounds per game and 7.2 assists per contest to another level after graduation. Tuggle with a 90-47 coaching record at GC and the 90 victories tied for the school’s all-time coaching best for women, will count on Katie Freeman of East Davidson HS and newcomer Danielle Duncan from Ragsdale to help move the Pride ahead with veteran Jamie Motsinger providing the leadership to give the girls a chance to make a run in the post-season.
The women from Guilford College with a previous mark of 10-16 overall and 9-11 ODAC are going to be much stronger this year. Coach Stephanie Flamini looks to go 10 deep and choosing a top 5 will not be an easy task. We will watch for freshman Destiny Carden out of Page HS and see how she blends in with her new Quaker teammates. Katie Dailey from Ragsdale, a sophomore, and Denae Caudle another freshman out of Southern Guilford are two more local ladies to keep an eye on.
Elon’s woman, coached by Brenda Paul, were 10-20 one year ago and now they are on a mission to turn that record around. 20-10 sounds real good and now if they can also turn around that 4-14 Southern Conference mark then history will be in the making. Amber Wall from Gibsonville and out of Eastern Guilford High School hopes to be a big part of the transformation. Wall averaged 7.8 ppg and 6.4 rpg last season as a freshman and Amber Wall wants to be ready to do it all this time around for the Phoenix. Amber is a good kid and she will joined on the court at times this year by freshman Anna Dellapenta out of East Davidson.
The Bennett College Belles were on the road today and we will have more on them when they get back to town.