By Jeremy Leopold
Head Coach- Kevin Keatts (1st season)
Last Season- 9-23 (3-14 CAA)
Losses- G Chris Dixon, G Tanner Milson, G Zack Allen, G Marcus Graham, G Ben Eblen, F Shane Reybold, F Alex Kilmartin
Newcomers- G Malik Pugh, G Jordan Talley, G Nick Powell, (Transfers who have to sit out this season: Denzel Ingram, Jarvis Haywoood, Marcus Bryan, Chris Flemmings)
First year head coach Kevin Keatts has a difficult road ahead of him after inheriting a team that hasn’t finished with a wining record since the 2007-2008 season.
For UNCW, the graduation of their third leading scorer and second leading assist man in Chris Dixon, their second leading rebounder in Shane Reybold and their leading dime dropper in Ben Eblen won’t help to improve upon last season’s last place finish. The coaches agree and place the Seahawks 9th in the CAA preseason coach’s poll, ahead of only CAA newcomer Elon.
There is some hope, however, for UNCW. Cedrick Williams, a preseason CAA second team selection, returns for his senior year. Williams led the team in scoring and rebounding last season with 11.5 points and 6.6 boards per game.
In addition to Williams, the Seahawks return senior gaurd Addison Spruill who finished second on the team in scoring last season. Spruill will be asked to do more offensively this season when it comes to distributing the ball with the departure of Eblen and Dixon after Spruill averaged one assist per game last season.
Also returning is the 7-foot, 275 pound behemoth, C.J Gettys. At times last season Gettys showed flashes of the force the Seahawks hope for him to become due to his size. With another year under his belt, and, more importantly, another offseason to refine his game, the redshirt sophomore could be poised for a breakout season.
Three incoming freshman guards will add to the backcourt depth for the Seahawks this season, likely backing up Spruill and senior guard Freddie Jackson.
Bottom Line- Keatts comes in as UNCW’s head coach highly touted after being a lead assistant for Louisville last season under famed coach Rick Pitino. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, however, he still has to play with Buzz Petersons’ recruits and aside from Williams there isn’t much talent on this roster. Look for UNCW to finish near the bottom of the conference again.