UNCW Seahawks (9-23 overall, 3-13 conference)
Projected starting five:
Jr. G Craig Ponder
Sr. G Freddie Jackson
Sr. G Addison Spruill
Sr. F Cedrick Williams
Jr. C Yemi Makanujuola
G Chris Dixon and F Shane Reybold are key players who have graduated.
59.4 percent of scoring and 52.7 percent of rebounding
Jr. C Yemi Makanujuola (transfer from Tennessee)
Fr. G Malik Pugh
Fr. G Jordan Talley
The non-conference slate features just three home games, all coming in a stretch of four games with a trip to Louisville being the only other game. They also have trips to Old Dominion, UNCG, Minnesota and Ohio on tap. CAA play begins with three of four at home, followed by three straight on the road.
Projected finish and outlook:
Buzz Peterson certainly tried to get the program going again, but couldn’t do it in the time he was given, aided in part by APR issues when he started. New head coach Kevin Keatts inherits a better situation, but not by much at first. He has solid coaching and recruiting credentials, in addition to being a high-character man like Peterson, so there’s a lot to like if you’re a Seahawk fan. Keatts coached Ponder at Hargrave Military Academy, so there’s some familiarity there, and his likely running mates in Jackson and Spruill can score, though none of the three has been a great three-point threat. Williams is a three-year starter and should anchor them up front. He’s been a good player, but one gets the impression he can be better than he’s shown thus far. The Seahawks had hoped to have Makanujuola last year, but they get him now and he should boost them up front. There’s a lot of room to improve, and with two players gone who had more assists than turnovers, taking care of the ball could be even more of a challenge this year.