Sept. 30, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas -
The Lamar men's basketball team has begun workouts in preparation for the start of the 2013-14 season. The Cardinals (3-28) will have a new look to the season with only six returning letterwinners from last year, including three starters. Lamar's three returning starters include Rhon Mitchell, Amos Wilson, and Donnell Minton, while the other three returning letterwinners have each recorded starts during their careers.
"The beginning of each year is exciting because it's a new team with new players," said head coach Pat Knight. "But this year is even more so because we are coming off such a bad year last season. We are all eager to get the bad taste out of our mouth from last year. We have seven new guys on this team, and we believe that we have the talent to be good again this year."
The NCAA passed a proposal in May that allowed men's basketball teams to step on the court 42 days prior to the season opener. Now teams can spread 30 practice dates across 42 days allowineg for more schedule flexibility.
Mitchell and Wilson are the team's top-two returning scorers, led by Mitchell's 10.3 points per game. One of the top freshmen in the league last year, Mitchell also averaged just under five rebounds per game during his rookie season. Wilson is a preseason all-conference selection, according to College Sports Madness, who averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a junior. Minton averaged 5.4 points per game from his guard spot as a freshman.
The rest of the returning letterwinners include Keilan Blanks (5-8 So. G), Matt Hancock (6-4 So. G) and Sebastian Norman (6-9 Jr. F).
The Cardinals welcome seven new players to campus this season, including five junior college transfers, and a new member to the coaching staff. The newcomers include Tyran de Lattibeaudiere
(6-4 Jr. F), Octavius Green
(6-6 Jr. F), Nimrod Hilliard
(6-0 Jr. G), Anthony Holliday
(6-1 Jr. G), Donovan Ross
(6-5 Jr. F), Preston Mattingly
(6-2 Fr. G) and Marcus Owens
(6-1 Fr. G/F). Scott Wagers
joined the Lamar coaching staff in May after 13 highly successful seasons at East Tennessee State.
"We've got more talent on this team than we had my first year," said Knight. "But now we need to get them playing together as a team. We really needed some maturity on this team and that is the reason we brought in five (junior college) kids, and only two freshmen. We upgraded from a talent standpoint and a maturity standpoint which is something that was really lacking last year. Our returning guys have also gotten better during the offseason, so I think you're going to see a big difference from last year.
"Scott is another guy who can just flat out coach. I've know Scott since I was in college, and he is one of the best coaches I've been around. He really knows the game, and is someone that I can trust and that is very important," added Knight.
Lamar will host McMurry Friday, Nov. 1 in an exhibition, before opening the season Saturday, Nov. 9, at Butler. The Cardinals' home opener is set for Tuesday, Nov. 12 against George Mason.
The 2013-14 schedule will have Lamar facing four schools that advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championship tournament, and will have two games carried on ESPN3.
The complete 2013-14 schedule can be viewed by clicking