Oct. 15, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - With 24 days until the Western Carolina men's basketball opener on November 8 against Wittenberg University in the Ramsey Center, seniors Tom Tankelewicz and Josh Mendenhall sit down to talk about the preseason and the 2013-14 season slowly appearing on the horizon.
Tankelewicz, who transferred to Western Carolina, enters his third season as a Catamount.
"I think this preseason has been a whole lot different than the past three preseasons I have been a part of for the simple fact we have a little bit more experience," said Tankelewicz, who sat out 2010-11 before seeing his first action with the team in 2011-12. "We don't have to spend a whole lot of extra time fine tuning our offenses and defenses because we have a pretty good mindset of what we need to do; so it is more review then actually putting in the material."
Mendenhall also transferred into the Western Carolina and saw his first action last season with the team.
"It is physical, and I am not a big guy, but it gets physical down there in the post going against Tawaski (King), (Torrion) Brummitt and Buddy (Kenneth Hall)," Mendenhall said. "Practice is physical, it is always physical."
"There is definitely competition. You see that with positions battles to where people are going at each other trying to take them down a level'" Tankelewicz echoed Mendenhall's description of preseason practice.
Tankelewicz, an Apex, N.C. native, led the team and Southern Conference with 80 3-point field goals made last year. Seventy-seven percent of his made baskets came from beyond the arc, 80 of 104. He shot 38.6 percent from three and 40 percent overall, and started all 32 games as a guard for the Catamounts.
When asked about his upcoming role for the season he said, "I am just going to do whatever it takes for my team to win the Southern Conference Championship. If we don't do that, I feel like it is a failed season."
Mendenhall saw action in 23 games in 2012-13 and averaged 7.9 minutes per game and 1.6 points per game. His best game came on November 28 against Furman when he turned in his only double-digit point performance of the season with 12 points.
"My goal is to really get into the mix. Last year I wasn't really into the mix that well. I didn't have my A-plus season. I just want to get in the mix and do better for my team this year," Mendenhall said. "I want to do what coach needs me to do. Play my role. If he needs a rebound, then I'll go get the rebound. If he calls me into the game whatever he needs me to do, I'm going to do it."
Practices continue for the Catamounts with the November 8 season opening game against Wittenberg looming ahead.
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