ETSU Releases 2015-2016 Basketball Schedule

A.J Merriweather

Today the ETSU Buccaneer faithful were delighted to hear that the men’s basketball team finally released the full schedule for the 2015-2016 season. ETSU will play 31 regular season games including 15 home games. Some of the non-conference home games include matches against Green Bay, UNC Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State. ETSU also goes on the road to play Villanova, Tennessee, Charleston Southern, Tennessee Tech, UNC-Asheville, NC Central and Georgia Tech. The Bucs begin conference play on January 2nd against Western Carolina in Cullowhee, NC.

Obviously, the most exciting non-conference home game should be the November 17th game against Wisconsin-Green Bay which is part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and will be played at 6AM. Last year Green Bay finished 2nd in the Horizon league with a 24-9 record. Even though the game is at 6AM I think it’s important that ETSU does everything possible to try and fill Freedom Hall and create an exciting atmosphere for the start of the season.

As for the away non-conference games ETSU will play three games in five days as part of the 2015 NIT Season Tip-Off. In those three games ETSU will play at Villanova on November 20th, at Georgia Tech on the 22nd and at Charleston Southern on the 24th. Other interesting road games will include ETSU visiting Tennessee for the second straight year on December 22nd and playing at NC Central on January 4th.

The 2015-2016 basketball schedule certainly presents some challenges for the Bucs, which will feature a completely new coaching staff and nine new players, especially with the trips to Villanova, Ga. Tech and Tennessee but it’s also very exciting to see how the Bucs will do against this tough competition.

The season is only two months away and I can’t wait for it to start. What are your opinions on the schedule?

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A recap of the 2015-2016 basketball recruiting class

etsu-basketball-15

With the signing of Deuce Bello yesterday, Steve Forbes and the rest of the coaching staff have completed the roster for the 2015-2016 season.

Here is a quick recap of the players that Steve Forbes and the rest of the coaching staff have signed since April.

T.J. Cromer

TJ-CromerT.J. Cromer is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound shooting guard from Albany, Georgia that averaged 20 points per game last season for Columbia State. He connected on 107 3-pointers and shot 46 percent from the three-point line. Cromer helped lead his Columbia State team to a 26-7 overall record in 2014-15. He was also named third team JUCO All-America and first team All-Region honors last year.

Nigel Holley

Nigel-HolleyNigel Holley is a a 6’8″, 220lbs PF from Wilmington. Holley comes to ETSU from Vincennes University where he averaged 3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, Vincennes University is ranked as #1 juco program in country. Coming out of high school Holley averaged 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks per game for New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC.

Shemar Johnson

Shemar-JohnsonShemar Johnson is a 6’6, 180lbs SG from Columbus, Miss. He averaged 16.3 ppg & 4.6 rpg, & 1.0 spg at Columbus HS. Johnson is a lefty shooting guard with some very long arms that can handle the ball well enough to play point as well. Being very athletic, he played well above the rim catching several lob passes through the backdoor. One of his favorite moves was his quick first step to the basket and then pull-up from about 10 to 12 feet. In addition to ETSU he also had offers from Murray State, Southern Illinois and Tennessee Tech.

Hanner Mosquera-Perea

Hanner-Mosquera-PereaHanner Mosquera-Perea is a 6’9 225lbs PF from Istmina, Colombia. Perea has spent the last three seasons at Indiana University where he played 20 minutes a game and averaged 6.5 ppg & 4.3 rpg and led the Hoosiers in blocked shots. He was a top 50 player out of high school and might be considered one of the most highly touted recruits to ever play at ETSU. Hanner will have to sit out this season but will be available in 2016-2017.

Ge’Lawn Guyn

GeLawn-GuynGe’Lawn Guyn is a 6’2 185lbs PG from Lexington, KY. Guyn has spent the last three seasons at Cincinnati University where he averaged 2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg and 1.0 apg. He started all 34 games for Cincinnati as a junior and is eligible immediately at ETSU since he has graduated from Cincinnati. He is an experienced, strong guard, known as an impressive defender and expected to make an immediate impact for the Bucs.

Abednego “Bennie” Lufile

Abednego-LufileAbednego Lufile is a 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward from Burlington, Canada. He averaged 12.3 points and 8.6 rebounds at Sheridan Junior College in Wyoming. His brother Chadrack played for Forbes at Wichita State. He was rated as the 16th best player in Canada coming out of high school. Lufile provides a unique skill set for a player with his size and strength.

Tevin Glass

Tevin-GlassTevin Glass is a 6’8 195lbs forward from Norcross, GA. Glass comes to ETSU from Wichita State where he averaged 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds in limited playing time. He appeared in 19 games. Before Wichita State Glass played for Coach Forbes at Northwest Florida State College, where he averaged 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds as a sophomore. Glass has to sit out this season but won’t count against the school’s scholarship total this year. He’s reportedly paying his own way until a scholarship becomes available next season.

Toriano Stokes

Toriano-StokesToriano Stokes is a 6’8 230lbs center from Memphis, Tennessee. He averaged 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks a game last season for Memphis Westwood High School. He reportedly had a dunk in every game and had six in one. Stokes was a finalist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He was listed as the 12th-best recruit coming out of Memphis. With a 7’1″ wingspan and a 9’4″ standing reach Stokes will immediately add size and athleticism to the Bucs’ front court.

Deuce Bello

Deuce-BelloDeuce Bello is a 6’4 198lbs SG from Greensboro, NC. Bello starred at Westchester Country Day School in High Point, North Carolina, was a top 50 player out of high school and considered one of the top athletes in his class. He spent two seasons at Baylor University before transferring to University of Missouri where he averaged 1.8 ppg in limited playing time. He is expected to bring a tremendous amount of athleticism to ETSU.

The new commits will join Peter Jurkin (red-shirted last season) Petey McClain, Lester Wilson, A.J. Merriweather, Isaac Banks and Desonta Bradford.

While the roster for the upcoming season is complete we will continue to closely follow recruiting for the 2016-2017 season.

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Deuce Bello to play his senior season at ETSU

Deuce Bello

Former Missouri Tiger Deuce Bello will play his final season at ETSU. While there has been no official press release published yet, a series of tweets from Deuce Bellow confirms his commitment to ETSU.

EDIT: ETSU released the official press release last night confirming both Deuce Bello’s and Tevin Glass’ commitment to ETSU. Read it here.

Bello was a top 50 player out of high school and considered one of the top athletes in his class. He originally committed to Baylor where he played for two seasons and then transferred to Missouri for his Junior season.

Bello will be eligible immediately as he graduated from Missouri this past spring.

Deuce Bello completes a very impressive recruiting class for the 2015-2016 season. He joins Cincinnati transfer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Norcross, GA), Indiana transfer center Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) and forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Columbia), as well as junior college transfers T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), Nigel Holley (Wilmington, N.C.) and Abednego “Bennie” Lufile (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), prep signee’s Shemar Johnson (Columbus, Miss.) and Toriano Stokes (Memphis, TN.) as members of the Buccaneers’ 2015-16 recruiting class.

Below are two videos from Deuce Bello’s high school career exhibiting his impressive athleticism.

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Nigel Holley commits to ETSU

Nigel-Holley

According to multiple sources, including Verbal Commits, Nigel Holley, a 6’8″, 220lbs PF from Wilmington, NC via Vincennes University, has committed to ETSU.

Nigel Holley is the second signing this off-season for ETSU. Like our first sign T.J. Cromer, Holley is also JUCO. Holley comes to ETSU from Vincennes University where he averaged 3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg (more stats here). It’s also worth noting that Vincennes University is ranked as #1 juco program in country. Coming out of high school Holley averaged 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks per game for New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC. As a junior, Holley helped New Hanover High School win the 2012 North Carolina 4A State Championship.

Holley is a big smooth forward who looks like he will be physically ready to play at the division 1 collegiate level. He will be able to play the 4 spot effectively and should provide solid depth for the Bucs in the 2015-2016 season.

ESPN insider eval:
“Nigel is an inside guy who doesn’t have an identity crisis. His game is around the bucket where he has touch and feel. We’re extremely encouraged by his ability to corral rebounds and outlet the basketball, making him a threat to help get the running game going….”

Vincennes U.’s coach Todd Franklin’s eval. of Holley after signing him:

“His game is around the bucket, including the fact that he has a nice touch for scoring the ball,” VU Coach Todd Franklin said. “We feel he can be a very good rebounder who can be a real boost to us offensively before he ever gets down the floor. His ability to make the outlet pass after pulling down a defensive rebound will help us get the running game going.”

Below are some HS highlights of Nigel Holley

Scouting video: Nigel Holley vs. Charlotte Elite at 2012 Breakout Challenge from The Wolfpacker on Vimeo.

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Johnson City Plans to Renovate Civic Center

Freedom Hall in Johnson City TNJohnson City, Tn. – We’ve all seen the various media reports now. Johnson City is FINALLY looking to invest in major renovations for the venerable Freedom Hall Civic Center. The venue has seen some fantastic shows over the years, Elvis, Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, AC/DC, and even the 16 time world heavyweight champion Ric Flair has graced the halls of the once proud venue. But years of neglect have taken a toll on the place. Cracked walls, plumbing, HVAC, and old, worn out seats are just some of the issues facing the building opened in the 1970’s. Since that initial night, very little has been done to update Freedom Hall. This past week, the city has made clear its’ goal of allocating 12 million dollars to give it a facelift. Bucs fans should be ecstatic this is happening. Now I’m the first to say even with the renovations, Freedom Hall is a bandage for a much larger issue (a new arena), but we’ll get to that another day. What is it you would like to see that would make Freedom Hall better, not just for basketball and entertainment, but for fans and patrons of the venue? For me it all starts with tickets, traffic, and toilet paper. The bathrooms there are terrible. Anytime I’ve been in the facility with more than 3000 people, there’s standing water in the men’s bathrooms. Traffic and tickets are always a nightmare. Part of traffic is people simply can’t drive, but a huge part is parking over there really isn’t all that great. Getting into the place is also inconvenient. There never seems to be enough people working the doors to get people in, so you have to get in obscenely early to ensure you don’t miss the start of anything. Next comes the seats. The seats have NEVER been replaced in Freedom Hall. Now for those of you who remember Willie Nelson, Lynard Skynard, and some of the shows of the 70’s and 80’s, think long and hard about what’s been on those seats over the years.

It’s long overdue, and with the right leadership running Freedom Hall, it could attract better entertainment that would provide a nice boost in the local and regional economy. But in the process, let’s hope the city is in a silent, pre planning phase for a long term solution that involves a new, downtown arena and convention center that can attract the truly big names of the music and entertainment industry.

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ETSU Signs T.J. Cromer

Steve Forbes and the rest of the ETSU basketball staff is off to a quick start as they announced the signing of the T.J. Cromer today. Cromer is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound shooting guard that averaged 20 points per game last season, connecting on 107 3-pointers and shooting 46 percent from the three-point line. Cromer helped lead his Columbia State team to a 26-7 overall record in 2014-15.

T.J. Cromer was also named third team JUCO All-America and first team All-Region honors last year.

What Forbes has to say about Cromer:

“I’m thrilled that T.J. is our staff’s first signee at ETSU. To have the opportunity to coach such a talented player is very exciting for the future of our program. His offensive numbers speak volumes to his abilities. He can make shots and he can score at a high level. T.J. is a winner, leading his team to the region championship and the NJCAA National Tournament. He is very well coached and is prepared to play the moment he steps on campus.”

Cromer is the first of what hopes to be an exciting offseason for ETSU basketball. ETSU Hoops will continue to follow all recruiting activity in the coming months.

Some highlights from Cromer

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Steve Forbes confirms Jason Shay as an assistant

Jason-Shay

Somewhat breaking news since no official press release has been released but Steve Forbes confirmed on a radio talk show at 3:30PM in Knoxville (KnoxTalkRadio 94.3) that Jason Shay will be one of his assistants.

Jason Shay will be joining Brooks Savage as part of the ETSU basketball coaching staff.

Jason Shay reunites with Forbes after spending 2 years with Forbes and Savage at Northwest Florida State College. Shay also coached with Forbes at Tennessee.

We’ll keep you updated as we hear more but it appears that Jason Shay will be an assistant coach for ETSU. If KnoxTalkRadio archives the audio of the interview I will post it as soon as I get it.

EDIT: Below is the interview, the part with Forbes starts around the 21 minute mark.

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ETSU Offers Ty Toney

Ty Toney

ETSU has offered Ty Toney, a 6’3 SG from Alpharetta, Ga. via Georgia Highlands C.C. Ty was a JUCO All-American honorable mention and first team all-region. He averaged 17.8 PTS/G and 2.4 A/G in 36 games at Georgia Highlands C.C. this year. See more stats on Toney here.

Ty played at Appalachian State his freshmen year before transferring to Georgia Highlands C.C. While at Appalachian State Toney average 6.3 PTS/G in 22 games.

According to ESPN insider, “Toney is a physical shooting guard who is strong for his size and wired to score. He can get buckets at all three levels. Get to the rim, straight line drive and score through contact. Mid range jumpers off the catch or dribble and knock down the open three.”

Here is what Jason Capel had to say about Ty Toney

“Ty is a very talented kid, and a great young man. He is strong, quick and explosive on both ends of the court. He is the type of player who can help a team in so many ways because of his competitiveness and versatility. In our system, it is important to have guards that can do multiple things especially off the bounce and Ty gives us a player that can do just that. He scores the ball from all over the court and has the ability with his strength and quickness to get mid-range and elevate over defenders. He is also explosive enough to get in the paint and finish through contact or make the right pass to an open teammate. Ty led Alpharetta to the state semifinals last season with one of the best playoff runs in Georgia high school basketball history. His is a player that will be a joy to coach on both sides of the ball.”

In addition to ETSU, Toney has also received offers from Kennesaw State, Jacksonville State, North Carolina Central, Jackson State, Tennessee State and FIU.

EDIT: 04/21/15 Toney has signed with Eastern Michigan.

Below are a couple of highlight videos of Ty Toney

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