May 28, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Prior to the conclusion of the 2013 spring semester, Western Carolina men's basketball and head coach Larry Hunter held its annual seasonal wrap-up with a team dinner on-campus. In addition to the internal recognitions of its awards and honors from the 2012-13, Hunter and staff handed out its team superlatives and awards.
"Our coaching staff really enjoyed coaching this team," said Hunter of his 2012-13 squad in a post-season address he made to his squad. "This group of young men is very talented, receptive to coaching and consistently worked hard and competed each time on the court."
The 2012-13 Catamounts finished with a 14-19 overall record including a 9-9 mark in SoCon play to finish third in the North Division. For a second-straight year, the squad peaked down the stretch of the regular season, winning six of its final 10 games with a pair of tight losses - in overtime at Elon (Feb. 16) and 67-65 to College of Charleston (Feb. 20).
The Catamounts made the program's first international in-season trip, playing in the Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort Cancun, Mexico, as a part of playing 11 of their first 14 games away from home. WCU went on to defeat The Citadel in the opening round of the SoCon Tournament for a second-straight year before bowing out to the College of Charleston in the quarterfinal round of the tournament, ending the season.
Among the awards handed out by Hunter and staff were superlatives for performance both in the classroom and on the court including the yearly statistical leaders. Highlighting those awards in which the Catamount coaching staff voted on were team Most Valuable Player, which was awarded to redshirt junior Trey Sumler. The Rocky Mount, N.C., native paced the Catamounts in scoring while ranking second in the Southern Conference in the same category. He additionally crested the 1,000 career point plateau and was named All-Conference and to the All-Tournament team.
Sumler shared the team's Captain Award with junior post Tawaski King, the program's top rebounder from the season. Sumler's classmate, Tom Tankelewicz, garnered the team's Most Improved Award, which including the Apex, N.C., native sinking 80 3-pointers - the fifth-best, single-season in school history.
Freshman Mike Brown took home two plaudits as the Mr. Hustle Spirit Award recipient, as well as the Catamount Attitude Award for his hard-work and dedication. Sophomore guard James Sinclair was named the team's Top Defensive Player by the coaching staff.
Western Carolina is slated to return 12 players from this year's squad including five seniors. Hunter will have his top five leading scorers from 2012-13 returning for 2013-14 in Sumler (18.4 ppg), King (11.0 ppg), junior Brandon Boggs (10.3 ppg), Tankelewicz (9.7 ppg) and Sinclair (7.4 ppg). King returns as the leading rebounder at 6.3 boards per game.
WCU is slated to add just one new face this off-season as 6-9, 220-lbs., post Charlendez Brooks (Duncan, S.C., Byrnes HS) signed with WCU in mid-November of 2012.
"We have some really good people and outstanding players in our program returning for next year," Hunter said when looking to the 2013-14 season. "We have maturity, leadership and experience. There are already a lot of expectations, as there should be. With a great off-season of improvements, next year could be a very special year for Catamount basketball."
Below is a complete list of the team awards handed out by Hunter and the coaching staff:
Captain's Award: Tawaski King and Trey Sumler
Scholar-Athlete Award (Highest GPA beyond 24 hrs of undergraduate study): Tom Tankelewicz
Best Assist/Turnover Ratio: James Sinclair
Top Rebounder: Tawaski King
Best Three Point Shooter: Tom Tankelewicz
Best Free Throw Shooter: Trey Sumler (min. of one per game)
Top Defensive Player: James Sinclair
Best Field Goal Pct. Shooter: Tawaski King (min. of two per game)
Most Improved: Tom Tankelewicz
Mr. Hustle Spirit Award: Mike Brown
Most Valuable Player: Trey Sumler
Catamount Attitude Award: Mike Brown
2012-13 Western Carolina Post-Season Notes:
- OPENING NUMBER: WCU started its 2012-13 SoCon schedule at 4-0, matching the best start to league play in program history ... WCU's other 4-0 start came during the 1994-95 campaign ... the Catamounts scored home wins over divisional foes, Appalachian and UNCG, with road tallies over South Division squads Furman and The Citadel;
- CATAMOUNT ROAD WARRIORS IN 2012: Western Carolina played 11 of its first 14 games away from Cullowhee ... the Catamounts endured a seven-game road swing which included one ranked foe in #13 Illinois and saw the squad play eight of their first nine games on the road including the first-ever regular season international trip with two games in the Cancun Challenge ... During the seven-game swing, the Catamounts were away from home for 27 days and covered roughly 6,350 miles and visited Mexico and four different states - Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky (twice) and South Carolina.
- CLOSE CALLS: A combined 13 of WCU's 19 losses this season came by just 11-points or less including 10 losses by eight or fewer points, SIX by five points or less and FOUR two-points or fewer ... WCU only had six double-digit losses on the season with its worst defeat coming by just 16 points at Wichita State ... Of WCU's 14 wins, NINE came by nine or fewer points with FIVE victories by three points or less, or one-possession games;
- DOUBLED-UP: Western Carolina hit double-digit victories with the 10th seasonal victory with the home win over Wofford on Feb. 11 ... the Catamounts have had double-figure wins in every season under head coach Larry Hunter;
- CHARITABLE TOSSES: WCU's 38 free throw attempts in the home win over UNCG (Jan. 12) were a season high, as well as marking the most by a Catamount team since shooting 41 in a road win over Louisville (12/12/09) ... the 31 made free throws by WCU were the most in a game since hitting 37 against Atlanta Christian on Nov. 22, 2005 ... WCU started the game making its first 16 free throw attempts before its first miss;
- ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTION: Western Carolina redshirt junior Trey Sumler was named to the All-Southern Conference team by both the head coaches and voting media ... It is his first honor since garnering league Freshman of the Year plaudits in 2010-11 - WCU was without an all-conference selection in 2011-12 ... Sumler averaged 18.4 ppg to rank second in the SoCon in scoring while leading the conference in league-only games at 19.1 ppg ... Also ranked at the top of the league in steals on defense (2.2 spg in SoCon, 2nd overall at 1.9 spg) and in minutes played (39.2 mpg in SoCon; 37.7 mpg overall).
- SUMLER ALL-TOURNAMENT: Trey Sumler was named to the 2013 Southern Conference All-Tournament team following the completion of the nation's oldest post-season tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center ... It is the second-straight season that Sumler landed on the honorary post-season tournament squad ... He was just one of four players named to the 10-player team that did not play in the tournament championship game - and the lone member of the first team not to at least play in the semifinals ... Sumler is the seventh different Catamount to earn all-tournament team honors two-or-more times, and the second WCU player since 2010 ... Sumler averaged 26 points per game in WCU's two games in tournament action, scoring a game-high 27 in the first round victory over The Citadel before recording 25 in the quarterfinal match-up with the College of Charleston ... He played 77 of a possible 80 minutes, shooting 20-of-36 (55.6%) from the floor including hitting five 3-pointers ... He additionally averaged 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in the two appearances on the court in Asheville.
- SUMLER ECLIPSES THE 1,000 CAREER POINT PLATEAU: Trey Sumler became the 40th Catamount men's basketball player all-time to score 1,000 points in his career ... Sumler entered the Illinois game with 992 career points, scoring exactly eight to evenly reach 1,000 ... Sumler reached the 1,000-point plateau with his second made 3-pointer of the second half coming at the 14:11 mark ... Sumler reached the 1,000 point mark in 77 career games, averaging right at 13 points per game in his career ... He is the fourth different Catamount to join the "1,000-Point Club" over the past five seasons, joining former standouts Brandon Giles (18th, 1,424), Jake Robinson (23rd, 1,287) and Harouna Mutombo (10th, 1,578).
- ALABAMA DEBUT: Freshman guard Rhett Harrelson made his first collegiate start in the regular season finale against Samford, playing a career-long 42 minutes and dishing out three assists with two steals;
- 20-SOMETHING: Brandon Boggs scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games, finishing with 26 in the nonconference home win over Coastal Carolina and 21 on against Chattanooga ... For Boggs, it was his sixth career 20-point game - second this season - and the first-time in his WCU career that he's gone for 20-plus in consecutive games;
- CAT BURGLARS: Western Carolina vaulted back to the top of the SoCon heap in the steals category, averaging 7.6 thefts per game to lead the Southern Conference ... the Catamounts have led the conference in thefts as a team for FIVE-consecutive seasons (2008-2013) ... From the 2007-08 through the 2010-11, WCU had an individual lead the league in steals including three-time steals champion, Brigham Waginger (2007-10) and Mike Williams in 2010-11 ... Under WCU head coach Larry Hunter, Western Carolina has finished no worse than fifth in the SoCon in steals;
CHARTING THE CATAMOUNTS ON WCU'S RECORD BOOKS:
- Redshirt junior guard Trey Sumler moved into the Top 10 on THREE of WCU's career statistical categories:
- With 358 career assists, Sumler has moved into 10th place on the school's career chart, by-passing Quentin Moore who had 331 assists from 1981-84 ... Sumler has passed out five-or-more helpers in a single game NINE times on the season;
- Sumler moved into EIGHTH with 146 career thefts, passing Greg Dennis (1979-82) who had 142 career steals and moving past Larry Caldwell who had 144 from 1978-81;
- Sumler has 155 made 3-pointers in his career, tying him with Brandon Giles (2006-10) for NINTH on WCU's career chart;
- Sumler now has 1,439 career points to rank 17th in program history ... He is just 354 points shy of WCU's all-time top five in career scoring and is on pace to crest 1,900 career points - joining just three other Catamounts over the 1,900-point plateau;
- Tom Tankelewicz hit 80 3-pointers in 2012-13, finishing ranked FIFTH on WCU's single-season chart ... A native of Apex, N.C., Tankelewicz twice made a career-high seven 3's in a game this season - at Chattanooga (Jan. 19) and at Elon (Feb. 16) ... 80 of his 104 made buckets last season were 3-pointers, accounting for 76.9-percent of his point production.
HOME-SWEET-HOME IN THE RAMSEY CENTER: - Western Carolina has won 54 of its last 69 (.783) home games dating back to the end of the 2007-08 season ... That includes including 36 of the last 48 (.750) SoCon games in Cullowhee during the same stretch ... Over the past FIVE seasons, WCU is 52-15 (.776) at home ... During Larry Hunter's tenure, the Catamounts are 75-30 (.714) inside the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center.
- WCU's double-digit, 13-point home loss to Elon was just the 12th double-digit defeat at home under current head coach Larry Hunter dating back to the 2005-06 season ... It was the first double-figure home loss for WCU since falling by 12 to Appalachian State on Feb. 6, 2010 ... It was the Catamounts' worst loss since suffering a 15-point loss to Davidson at home on Jan. 21, 2008;
- SINCLAIR HONORED BY COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS: Sophomore guard James Sinclair was tabbed as the top performer from the Southern Conference by College Sports Madness and released online through their web site on Dec. 10 ... Sinclair led the Catamounts in two games last week, averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game ... Against 13th-ranked Illinois last Tuesday, Sinclair scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds, four coming on the offensive end. He also dished out three assists against the Fighting Illini ... In Saturday's home win over archrival Appalachian State, the Savannah, Ga., native finished with a dozen points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven boards and a pair of assists.
RANDOM GAME NOTES FROM THE 2012-13 SEASON: - Western Carolina opened its season on the road for a third-consecutive season, dropping its opener for the third-straight year ... the 2010-11 campaign opened with a road loss at Clemson with the 2011-12 season also beginning in the Palmetto State with a 75-50 defeat at South Carolina ... WCU lost the 2012-13 opener at UNC Asheville, 71-61;
- WCU posted just a 1-5 overall record in the month of December ... However, WCU faced two nationally-ranked teams in then No. 13 Illinois and then No. 15 Georgetown, both on the road ... the Catamounts' December opponents were a combined 49-26 for a .653 overall winning percentage;
- Western Carolina started the month of January at 3-0, but struggled in the second half of the calendar, closing the month 1-4 to post a 4-4 overall record;
- Western Carolina won for just the third time in the 35 all-time meetings at the McKenzie Arena, halting a five-game slide and improving to 3-32 all-time against UTC in the building - head coach Larry Hunter has two of those three "W's" at the McKenzie Arena, also scoring a victory in 2007 ... WCU is just 4-35 in games played at the McKenzie Arena;
- Trey Sumler scored 25 points and Tom Tankelewicz finished with 21 for the Catamounts in the win at UTC representing the first time WCU had two players score 20-or-more points in a game since Feb. 17, 2011 when Brandon Boggs and Mike Williams both scored 20 points at Appalachian State;
- The Catamounts reached the 90-point plateau for just the second time this year with the 90-81 win over Chattanooga - its first against a D-I squad with the other coming against Mars Hill ... the 90-point game was just the second against a league foe in the past two seasons with the other coming in the SoCon Final against Davidson;
- WCU's 90 points were the most for Catamount squad against a SoCon team in the regular season since a 100-90 home win over College of Charleston on Jan. 25, 2010 - a "White Out" game in the Ramsey Center ... the 90 points were the most for WCU in a road SoCon game since Jan. 15, 2007 - a 100-91 loss at Appalachian State;
- The Catamounts made a season-high 12 3-pointers at Chattanooga, connecting on a season-best 53.4-percent from beyond the 3-point arc;
- The 4,178 in attendance at the Western Carolina-Davidson game represented the eighth-largest crowd in Ramsey Center history - and the most since 2010.
- CANCUN RECAP - FINISHES THIRD IN MAYAN DIVISION: According to available research, this year's trip to the Cancun Challenge in Mexico represents Western Carolina's first-ever regular season games played internationally ... WCU has traveled to Costa Rica under head coach Larry Hunter and to Canada under former coach Steve Shurina during the non-traditional season ... the Catamounts did travel to the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in the 2008-09 season, leaving the contiguous 48 states;
- WCU went 1-1 to finish third in the Mayan Division of the Cancun Challenge, falling by one point to Austin Peay, 72-71, before upending Howard on a pair of Tom Tankelewicz free throws with one-second showing on the clock to win, 69-67;
- Trey Sumler picked up Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team honors following the conclusion of play in the Mayan Division ... Sumler averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game in the two contests in Cancun, scoring a team-high 16 points in the loss to Austin Peay and following it up with 17 points against Howard ... Sumler averaged 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and two steals per game in Mexico, finishing 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the floor including 4-of-7 (57.1%) from beyond the arc and shot 83-percent from the charity stripe, 5-of-6.