UNCW Seahawks (18-14 overall, 12-6 conference)
Projected starting five:
Sr. G Craig Ponder
So. G Jordon Talley
Jr. G Denzel Ingram
So. F Marcus Bryan
Sr. F Dylan Sherwood
Three starters are gone from last season’s team: G Freddie Jackson, F Addison Spruill and F Cedrick Williams.
47 percent of scoring and 46.8 percent of rebounding
So. F Marcus Bryan (transfer from Charlotte)
Fr. G C.J. Bryce
Fr. F Devontae Cacok
Jr. G Chris Flemmings (junior college transfer)
Fr. G Trey Grundy
Jr. G Denzel Ingram (transfer from Charlotte)
Fr. G Mark Matthews
The Seahawks have five home games in non-conference play, highlighted by visits from defending Ohio Valley champ Eastern Kentucky and Western Michigan. They open with three straight at home. They go on the road to play at Georgetown and East Carolina, and will play two games in the Billy Minardi Classic in Louisville. After opening CAA play with two straight on the road, they play the next three at home. They start February with a key weekend at home, welcoming Hofstra and then Northeastern.
Projected finish and outlook:
Keatts did a terrific job turning around the mindset of the program in his first year. Year two is always a challenge, and this one will be a little different. The Seahawks will have more talent, but less experience, and the three starters they lose all meant a great deal to the team. They also dismissed Jarvis Haywood in October, and he figured to be an impact transfer, although he had been suspended for the first semester. But there’s still plenty of talent, and this team could certainly finish higher than they’ve been picked just like last year. Ponder, who Keatts coached at Hargrave Military Academy, had a nice season last year, while Talley made a big impact as a freshman and could make the leap to be an all-conference player this year. Transfers Ingram, Bryan and Flemmings should all help right away. There is more proven depth on the perimeter than up front, and in college basketball that is always a plus. With Keatts getting his program in place and the team adopting the attitude he wanted, the culture has changed and the Seahawks are once again a dangerous team with a homecourt that is tough for visiting teams.