BANNER. ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team is set to rebound in 2009-2010 with a new group of players and a new attitude from a 2-29 season in 2008-2009.
"We are a new group with a new attitude," head coach Scott Polsgrove said. "I am very happy with the progress our returners made over the summer and the quality of our incoming class. I am looking forward to a competing at a higher level this season."
The Bobcats return two players at the point guard position, junior Jesse Hoots and sophomore Anthony Johnson, and added Corey Young.
Hoots suffered an injury early in the 2008-2009 season, but return to play in 24 games where he averaged 6.7 points per game. He also led the team in assists with 106. He had a season-high 14-assists in a game against Limestone. Hoots, a very good athlete will be the floor leader for the Bobcats and they will count on him to run the show this year.
Johnson, the other Bobcat returner, played in only nine games, all before Christmas break, in the 2008-2009 season due to a injury. Johnson will give the Bobcats quality depth at the point guard position, which was missing from a year ago.
Young, the new addition to the Bobcats at the point guard position, will challenge for playing time. Young was a quality high school scorer.
At the wings, Lees-McRae returns four, Sam Youse, Sean Hardin, ReShon Benjamin and Vlady Nikolov, and added two newcomers, Daniel Sepokas and Jeremy Helms.
Youse is the team's leading returning scorer from the 2008-2009 season. He averaged 8.7 points per game and shot 53.9 percent from the filed. Youse is a very good athlete that the Bobcats are hoping will have a breakout season in 2009-2010. Youse can score a lot of different ways and will be counted on heavily in the Bobcats offense.
Hardin saw limited action last season in 24 games he averaged 2.2 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game. He is a very gifted athlete with a lot of upside to his game.
Benjamin played a wide variety of roles for the Bobcats last season, but is a steady and consistent performer.
Nikolov is returning from a medical redshirt season and will be competing for minutes at the shooting guard position.
A freshman, Sepokas, has a very good all around game and will play an important role for the Bobcats this season. He was the under-19 Player of the Year Australia's WABL, a league a step down from Australia's National Basketball League.
Helms is a junior college transfer from Surry Community College, who is a very strong kid that is good off the dribble and a strong defender.
In the frontcourt for the Bobcats, returns Stephen Haymer, Josh Kurtz and Dairl Scott will provide good leadership for newcomers Adam McFerran, Jeremaiah Henry and Juan Urbina.
Haymer is a strong, athletic kid that is a good rebounder and the team's best defender. In 2008-2009 he averaged seven points per game and almost five rebounds per game.
Kurtz improved his game in the offseason and is looking to have his best year in his senior season. He provides great leadership for this team at the center position.
Scott is a quality rebounder that averaged just over four rebounds per game in 2008-2009. He will be one of the guys that the Bobcats will look to for scoring in the paint.
McFerran is a transfer from Wheeling Jesuit, where he made the All-Freshman Team in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2008-2009. He has a very good inside-outside game and can play both the small and power forward positions for the Bobcats.
Freshman, Henry, is an explosive athlete and will provide quality depth at the three and four positions.. He is a good rebounder and very good offensively in the paint.
Urbina, another freshman post player, is a long low post presence. He has a good midrange game and will compete for back up minutes at the center position.
The 2009-2010 Bobcats are returning less than 50 percent of the team's offense from the 2008-2009 season, but will more depth than in the past years.
The Bobcats will travel to Furman Friday for their only exhibition before the season. The team's first regular season game will be on the road at nearby Appalachian State on Tuesday.