Oct 1, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT
UNCW has an interesting mix of veteran returnees and experienced newcomers as it looks to make a move up the CAA standings this season. The Seahawks welcome back five players who started 17 or more games a year ago, but must replace first-team All-CAA forward Keith Rendleman, who was among the league’s top five in scoring and rebounding.
The Seahawks have plenty of depth in the backcourt. Senior Chris Dixon averaged 9.8 ppg and ranked sixth in the CAA in assists (3.3 apg) in his first year at UNCW. He scored double figures in 11 of his last 15 games and had four 20+-point efforts last season. Redshirt sophomore Craig Ponder was the team’s third-leading scorer (8.5 ppg), while junior Freddie Jackson chipped in 5.9 ppg and was one of the team’s top defenders (33 steals). They are joined by sharp-shooting senior Tanner Milson, who knocked down a team-best 43 treys and shot 37% from beyond the arc.
Up front, UNCW is hoping for a breakout season from 6-foot-9 forward Cedrick Williams. The junior, who contributed 6.5 ppg and was 12th in the CAA in rebounding (6.0 rpg) and sixth in blocked shots (1.4 bpg), showed flashes of his potential by recording a pair of double-doubles last season. Also returning in the frontcourt are sophomore wing Luke Hager (2.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and senior post player Shane Reybold (1.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg).
The Seahawks have added a pair of transfers in the backcourt. Graduate student Ben Eblen spent three seasons as a reserve point guard at Alabama, while junior Addison Spruill contributed 17.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists over two junior college seasons.
Did You Know: UNCW will have plenty of experience on its bench this season. Head coach Buzz Peterson has won 258 games over 15 years as a Division I head coach, assistant coach Eddie Biedenbach won 256 games over 17 seasons as head coach at UNC Asheville, and assistant coach Houston Fancher won 137 games in nine years as head coach at Appalachian State.
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