Oct. 12, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Photo Gallery
The Western Carolina men's basketball team looks to pick up from where it left off in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship Game as the Catamounts begin the 2012-13 season. Practice officially began Friday afternoon with a session that began at 5:00 p.m. on the main floor of the Ramsey Center. With fall break on campus over the next week, WCU begins the season with two-a-days over the coming days.
Closing out the 2011-12 season, Western Carolina won seven-straight games and made a run at the SoCon Championship title before falling in a thrilling double-overtime game in a purple-clad U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville in early March. Hunter and the Catamounts return seven players from that squad including All-tournament team selections in guard Trey Sumler and post Tawaski King.
Four of the top six leading scorers from a season ago are back led by Sumler who averaged 13.5 points per game to rank second on the squad in 2011-12. Junior Brandon Boggs also averaged double-digit scoring at 10.0 ppg, while King averaged 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest last season.
Void of a senior on the roster, the Catamounts boast six juniors, two sophomores and a group of five talented freshmen.
Larry Hunter, entering his eighth season in Cullowhee, is excited about the prospects of the upcoming season. Over the last five seasons, the Catamounts are 42-9 at home - an 82.4% winning percentage - including 32 of its last 39 SoCon games.
Hunter's coaching staff from last season remains the same with three former Catamount players on staff. Anquell McCollum, 1996 SoCon Player of the Year, is the most veteran of the three assistants with Eric Wilson (2004-08) and former WCU point guard Brigham Waginger rounding out the assistants. Randy Wood begins his second season as the Director of Basketball Operations.
"This is a fun time of the year for college basketball players and coaches to be able to get back on the court and practice with the whole team," said head coach Larry Hunter. "It's a time to start to put the pieces of the puzzle back together to see what you're going to have."
"We have good basketball players in our program. Our junior class with Trey Sumler, Tawaski King, Brandon Boggs, Preston Ross, Tom Tankelewicz and Josh Mendenhall is really a very good, talented class. Skill wise, athletically, they are very strong. We have some good basketball players there. Then, our sophomores and freshmen are going to add to that."
"We're excited to have some potential depth on our team, and hopefully it can all come together and we can play some solid basketball."
Western Carolina opens the 2012-13 season on the road against mountain-rival UNC Asheville at the on-campus Kimmel Arena on Friday, Nov. 9. The Catamount men's opener will be televised by WMYA-TV, My 40, out of Asheville.