Oct. 17, 2008
Cullowhee, N.C. - The Western Carolina men and women's basketball teams will take to the court for the first time as full squads as preparations for their 2008-09 seasons begin on Friday (Oct. 17).
Both the Catamount men under fourth-year Larry Hunter and the Lady Catamounts behind Kellie Harper, who is in her fifth season at the helm, will practice once on Friday, followed by two practices on both Saturday and Sunday for a total of five on the opening weekend.
"This is one of the more exciting times of the year for me, just getting official basketball practices started," said Hunter, who returns five players off last year's squad. "We had a very productive off-season with our guys on campus working in the weight room and the classroom, and we are ready to get this season started."
Harper echoed Hunter's excitement and is looking forward to the challenges the 08-09 season has in store.
"I've really enjoyed working with these kids in the preseason," said Harper. "They are very coachable, very willing and want to please you. As a coach you couldn't ask for anything more. Because of that I am anxious to get them on the court and get into our team philosophy. This team has a lot of promise."
The two programs will collaborate on the 2008-09 Catamount Basketball Rouser scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 pm in the Ramsey Center. The family-oriented event will feature dinner, tours of the facilities including locker rooms and film room, as well as special on-court activities for a real "hands-on" look at WCU basketball. The cost of the event is just $10.
"Between both our men's and women's basketball staffs, we have gotten together to put together a program that is going to be very interactive," said Hunter of the on-campus rouser. "This event is designed for families, for our students and everyone in the local surrounding communities. Both teams will be involved and the players will conduct most of the programs and we will have things for all ages to do."
He added, "It should be a lot of fun and will give people a chance to get really up close and personal with some of our players and kick things off with a real bang."
WCU will open its 2008-09 regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 as both squads will be in action in their season-opener. The Catamount men will be in Storrs, Conn., to face the Connecticut Huskies who many predict to be a preseason top 5 team. The Lady Catamounts will also face a perennial power in its opener as it faces North Carolina in Chapel Hill in the opening round of the preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).