Season Preview: Men's Basketball
WILMORE, Ky. - The Eagles’ men’s basketball team is set to open their season tonight against Hiwassee College from Tennessee at 8 p.m.
The Eagles’ have already been tabbed as the no. 2 team in the KIAC this season, a year removed from falling in the KIAC Championship game and finishing the season 20-13 overall, and 9-5 in the KIAC.
This season Adam Delph is gone. His 16.7 PPG which led the team in scoring is gone. But the Eagles return their second, third, and fourth leading scorers from a season ago, and add some fresh, new-talent to the court to make this a dangerous 2013-14 squad.
Looking back to last season
Last season the Eagles enjoyed their deepest run into the KIAC tournament in then fifth-year head coach Will Shouse’s tenure at the helm.
They ended up playing some of their best ball of the season in the tournament as they cruised to wins against Berea—who the Eagles had lost to twice during the regular season—and IU-East. Against the top-seeded IU-Southeast team the Eagles came up just short, letting what was a six-point halftime lead slip away in a 74-62 defeat.
Now the Eagles are focused on this season's KIAC Championship run, leaving last season in their wake.
Head coach Will Shouse he’s going to look in the direction of a few different players to really provide the leadership for this 2013-14 version of the Asbury Eagles. He says Lee’Vaughn Morris, Austin Flannery, and Cam Richardson could all be go-to guys down the stretch, as they all provide scoring ability and leadership as upperclassmen.
Morris will be looked on for leadership and scoring as the Eagles start this season. Aside from senior Adam Delph’s 119 assists, Morris distributed the ball better than anyone on the court. He appeared in 32 games and dished out 97 assists, second-best on the team. This season, coach Shouse will look to Morris again for that play making ability.
Flannery sits just 42 points away from 1,000 in his career and was an all-KIAC selection in 2011-12. Last season he averaged 11.1 PPG, a mark that was third best on the team. Flannery put up plenty form beyond the arc last season. He made a 59 shots on 158 attempts, both team-highs.
Cam Richardson has been on fire this preseason. His shot looks like it has kept pace from the .529 average he shot last season in limited action. He, too, will be looked toward for significant contributions this season.
CJ Penny and Dakatoh Euton return this season and Shouse says their different playing styles mesh well together on the court. Last season the duo combined for 26.4 PPG and 13.0 RPG.
Their size when on the court together could prove challenging for opponents this season, as well as their scoring prowess. Both players have been KIAC all-conference selections in the past and will use their experience to be big contributors this season.
And let’s not forget Euton’s canny ability to shoot the long-range ball either. His .387 shooting percentage from behind the arc was second on the team for those attempting more than 10 3FGs. He made 41 of his 106 attempts last season and has shown this preseason that he has still got it.
Senior Adam Satterfield could also see some time for the Eagles this season. At 6-9, Satterfield is the tallest player on the Eagles’ roster.
With nine new players on the roster this season there is bound to be some new faces creeping into the top five in scoring for the Eagles.
Shouse said players to keep your eye on would be Jordan Gilbert and Kyle Lamb. The sophomore transfers have seen playing time this preseason at guard and could provide a spark for the Eagles.
Freshmen Tyler Smith and Kristian Morgan have shown explosive first steps for the Eagles when on the court, two more players that are new, but could be crucial down the stretch.
Looking at the Schedule
“Every game will be important for us this season, especially when we get to the KIAC play,” Shouse said. “We’d like to be in a position to host in the [KIAC] tournament.”
The conference schedule gets kicked off this season after 11 out-of-conference games through November and much of December. The Eagles play their first, and lone, conference game of December against IU-Southeast here in Wilmore on 12/18—a rematch of the 2012-13 KIAC Championship game.
From there it’s all 2014 and all at home. The Eagles play seven conference games to open January all of them here in the Luce Center. Then, it’s all on the road. The Eagles will travel for their next seven games only to finish with one at home and one away to conclude the season.
Shouse said games to look forward to out-of-conference would be Centre College here on December 3 and Campbellsville on the road on Dec. 16.
For now the Eagles will get started with two games at home in the Asbury Tip-Off Classic—one against Hiwassee and one against Lindenwood-Belleville.