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Countdown to Tipoff: Previewing Elon, Bethune-Cookman, and Morehouse

We continue the preview of Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule!

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Elon Phoenix

2018-19 Season Recap

Elon had a rough season last year, going just 11-21. They were a little better in conference play, going 7-11, but the season was far from a success. The Phoenix managed to get a bid in the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship, where they lost to UNCW in the first round.

The offense was managed by a trio of players who were all able to average more than 10 points per game: Tyler Seibring, Steven Santa Ana, and Sheldon Eberhart.

Who’s gone?

Unfortunately for the Phoenix, they lose each of their top three scorers. Seibring is definitely the biggest loss here. As his bio says, he finished his career as one of the best and most decorated players in Elon men’s basketball history.

Career Highlights

• Finished 6th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,794 career-points.• Placed 10th all-time in rebounds with 779 for his career.

• Became Elon first NCAA Division I player to rank in the top-10 in both points and rebounds in program history.

• Ranks 1st in program history with a career 40.9% (278-680) shooting from three-point range.

• His 278 made three-pointers ranks 2nd in program history and his 680 attempts ranks 3rd all-time.

• Finished 8th all-time in career-blocks concluding his career with 81, just two shy of 7th-placed Adam Constantine ‘10.

• Became the 40th player in program history to score 1,000 career points (Jan. 7, 2018).

• Was just the 11th junior in program history to reach 1,000 career points in his third season.

• Is the only player in Elon men’s basketball program history to be named a three-time Academic All-American.

• His 82 three-pointers in 2017-18 is tied for the 2nd most in a single season• Seibring’s 32 points at UNCW on Jan. 26, 2019, is tied for the 2nd-most in a single game since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks in 1999.

• His 14 rebounds against William & Mary on Feb. 16, 2019, is tied for the second-most by an Elon player in the program’s NCAA Division I era in a single game.

• Finished his career as a three-time All-CAA Second Team selection and a two-time NABC District 10 Second Team selection during his four-year career.

Yeah, he was pretty good. Seibring is continuing his career across the Atlantic playing for Real Canoe in Spain.

English C Karolis Kundrotas and G Damian Swoope are also gone from the team. Swoope started in five games for the Phoenix before having season-ending foot surgery. He completed his undergraduate degree and transferred to Sam Houston State to finish out his eligibility. Nathan Priddy entered his name in the transfer portal, but I couldn’t find any confirmation that he transferred anywhere, but he is not currently listed on the roster.

Head coach Matt Matheny was also relieved of his duties following the end of the season after a decade of being there. In early April, Mike Schrage was named as the new head coach, and dang, he comes from a pretty impressive coaching tree. Before accepting the Elon job, Schrage served as Ohio State’s assistant coach for two years. He also served for nine seasons under Coach K at Duke and four seasons under Bob Knight at Indiana.

Who are the key players?

The Phoenix are getting a nice boost with the addition of Marcus Sheffield II, who transferred in from Stanford. While with the Cardinal, Sheffield was a major cog in three seasons, missing what would have been his junior season with a leg injury.

He’ll be joining two players who had some starts last year in sophomores Kris Wooten and Chuck Hannah. As freshmen, Wooten and Hannah combined for 41 starts. Hannah, in particular, was a weapon inside the paint, collecting 90 rebounds (fourth-best on the team).

Sophomores Andy Pack and Frederico Poser served as solid bench pieces last season and should expect to see more involved roles this season.

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

2018-19 Season Recap

Something you’ll notice with this preview is that as you go through, you get teams with better records. That’s the case here with the Wildcats, who went 14-17 last season and 9-7 in conference play.

The Wildcats lost in the first round of the MEAC tournament to Howard University.

Who’s Gone?

Bethune-Cookman loses a handful of players who had starts last season, including Armani Collins, Soufiyate Diakite, Shawntrez Davis, and Dondre Duffus. They also lost David Francis, who was a key player off the bench who appeared in 20 games last season.

Of this group, Davis and Diakite are the two that really stick out to me. Both average 19 or more minutes per game and had nearly 20 starts each. Duffus, a grad transfer from Southeastern Missouri, also played a lot, but was mostly used off the bench.

Davis has a bit of an interesting story, originally committing to Texas Tech as a four-star recruit out of high school. After failing to receive a qualifying score on the ACT, Davis ended up at Palm Beach College before moving to Bethune-Cookman after his freshman season.

Who are the key players?

Six seniors will be leading the team this year. The two at the top are Cletrell Pope and Malik Maitland. Both played very well last season and were a large reason for the Wildcats’ success.

Pope was named All-MEAC first team and finished the regular season with 21 double-doubles, a conference record. In conference play, he shot over 60 percent from the floor, while averaging 16.7 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. Maitland was a scoring machine for the Wildcats, putting up over 15 points a game in conference play. He also put up double-digit points in 11 of the Wildcats’ last 12 regular season games.

Morehouse College Maroon Tigers

2018-19 Season Recap

In terms of record alone, Morehouse is the best team from this preview that Tech will face. They finished last season 20-5 with a 14-3 conference record. They’re season ran shorter than what they expected, though, losing in the first round of the SIAC Tournament to Paine College.

Who’s Gone?

The Maroon Tigers lose four seniors from last year’s team. The most important one was Morehouse’s Mr. Do-Just-About-Everything, Omar Alston. Alston was the key player in the paint for Morehouse, gathering 287 rebounds. The next closest player had 104. He was also an effective scorer, shooting nearly 57 percent from the floor and averaging 14.3 points per game. He also led the team in blocks and steals. Morehouse also loses James Walker, Kendell Walker, and Jairus Adley.

Who are the key players?

There are three now-seniors who the Maroon Tigers have relied heavily on in the past, so their roles should continue to expand this year. Up first is Robert Andrews, who was the second leading scorer behind Alston and also the team’s three-point specialist. Last season, he shot over 40 percent from behind the line.

Michael Olmert (G) and Tremell Gordon (G/F) should both see increased roles as well. Olmert did a good job of scoring (nearly 10 points a game last season), but as the point guard, he specialized in setting other players up and led the team in assists with 164. Alston was second on the team with 91.

How do you think Tech will fair in these three non-conference games?