Now that it is finally basketball season for UNCG’s basketball teams, we can take a look at everything that is to come for both basketball teams this upcoming season. The men’s team, led by coach Wes Miller, are coming into this season with a lot of experience and upperclassmen. The team did lose departing seniors, Diante Baldwin and RJ White, who had been two of the team’s top players from last season. Baldwin ended his career with a SoCon second team selection, and averaging 13.5 points per game, as well as finishing third in the conference in steals at 63. White was selected to the SoCon third team and finished fourth in the conference in rebounds, at 6.7 per game.
There are a few fresh faces not only on campus but also on the court as well with two true freshmen in Isaiah Miller and Kaleb Hunter, as well as two redshirt freshman’s who are Kylia Sykes and Jack Konstanzer. There are three sophomores, Malik Massey, Kyrin Galloway and James Dickey who completes this 2017-18 Spartan roster.
Junior guard Francis Alonzo has been selected to the Preseason All-Southern Conference team as voted by the league coaches. The Spartans are looking to build off their most successful season in recent memory, going 25-10, with a 14-4 record in conference play. The team earned 52 total votes in the coaches poll while Mercer was chosen as preseason favors with 71 votes. The men’s season open out on the road against Virginia before returning home, where they will playing in Fleming Gymnasium on Nov 15 and 17. This year the men’s schedule is filled with ESPN3 games such as against Elon, UNCW, UNC Asheville, Western Carolina, Chattanooga and the season closer against Samford. There are two more ACC game against Wake Forest and North Carolina State.
Then there’s the women’s team, led by second year coach Trina Patterson, are entering this year without six seniors from last season’s squad. This years women’s Spartan team has a lot of underclassmen with seven sophomores this year; including redshirt sophomore DJ Howard, Alexus Willey, Alexis Pitchfork, Mangela Ngandjui, Aja Boyd, Te’ja Twitty, and Nadine Soliman. There are also five freshman that will be starting there career at UNCG, including redshirt freshman, Aneka Yelverton, Amesha Miller, CeCe Crudup, Lilian Izundu and Dijana Milisic. There are only 2 upperclassmen rounding out this 2017 roster in junior guard Brandi Fier, and senior center Ije Ajemba. For the 2017-18 polls the Spartans were picked to finish third in the league in the coaches poll and fourth in the media polls.
Sophomore Nadine Soliman was named to the 2017-18 preseason all conference team. She started all 35 games averaging 16.2 points a game, ranking fourth in the league and making her the nation’s leading among all freshman. She also averaged 4.3 rebounds a game in 31.7 minutes per game. UNCG is coming off its first postseason appearance since the 2001-2002 season, will look to improve on their 20-15 record from last season.
They will be returning two All-SoCon honorees from last season in Soliman, and Te’ja Twitty who has been named the team captain for the upcoming season. The women’s open the season against Southern Wesleyan in Fleming on Friday evening. They also have a ACC network games as well on Saturday December 2nd against Virginia, and also a couple ESPN3 games against Murray State, Furman, Western Carolina twice, Chattanooga, and Samford.
This is not only a highly anticipated year for the men who just barely missed the NCAA tournament, but for the women’s as well. And this season is what everyone is looking forward to. They are both teams who can contend for the conference championship this year and it’s all about going out proving to everyone that they can do it.