By Chuck Tidmore
Sports Information Intern
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon men's basketball team reached the USA South Athletic Conference championship game in its first season in the conference.
Now, in Year 2, the Hawks hope to continue building off of that success. But head coach Mike Pugh knows it will take a lot of hard work and continued development for the Hawks to make another run this season.
"We graduated several key players from last year, but I'm hoping the momentum will carry over with our returning players," Pugh said. "We have some experience, but we are a young team, so we will see how that translates. Early on, it's going to be a little tough with so many freshmen and sophomores having to play, but the success we had last season, especially late in the season, is something we want to have again this year."
The Hawks, who were ranked seventh in the USA South preseason poll, have to replace three of their top four scorers from last year in Austin Hill, Jason Varney and Terry Moorer. Hill was a first-team all-conference selection and finished the season ranked in the top four in the conference in scoring and rebounding, with 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Varney averaged 12.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and Moorer added 9.5 points and six rebounds per game.
The Hawks will rely on senior point guard Jerome Davis' leadership this year. Davis was a third-team all-conference selection and was the Hawks' third leading scorer with 12.4 points per game and led the team with 3.9 assists per game. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
"Everything starts with the point guard in basketball and Jerome has a lot of experience," Pugh said. "He is an all-conference player and will be a leader for us this season."
Pugh is also counting on junior Dantavius Washington to play a key role in scoring and leadership and is looking for sophomores Charlie Johnson, Bill Donaldson and Andre Ashley to step up and be key contributors.
Of the eight freshmen on the team, Pugh said has been extremely pleased with Wyatt Popovich. Pugh expects several freshmen to be called on this year.
"I'm very pleased with the guys. They are fun to coach and eager to learn, which makes my job easier," Pugh said. "They are very receptive to coaching and over time, that will translate into victory and success."
The Hawks open their season on Saturday at Sewanee at 6 p.m. Huntingdon will play its first home game at Roland Arena on Nov. 22 against Berry College at 3 p.m.