Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer
The Hampton University men’s basketball team is preparing for a new season with a lot of new faces.
This year’s Pirates feature eight new players, a majority making the switch from the junior college level.
“Daveon Warren, Edward Oliver-Hampton, and Saheem Anthony are all JUCO guys that are going to be good for us,” HU assistant coach Matt Hamilton said. “The difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is that last year’s team had a lot of experience. The majority of those guys had been starting since they were freshmen and sophomores.”
Experience is always difficult to replace. Leading scorer Jermaine Marrow is back, but who will replace Kaylin Fisher’s (16 ppg) contributions from a Pirates team which went 18-17 a year ago?
“This year’s team, player-by-player wise, is very talented,” Hamilton said.
Second-year forward Ben Stanley agrees.
“This year, we’re a more long and athletic team,” Stanley said. “Every guy can create something. I’m very excited.”
A majority of the new players expected to contribute have 6-5 to 6-7 wingspans, which should complement Marrow in the backcourt.
As for Stanley, the super-athletic 6-6 forward has some goals for himself.
“First and foremost, I want to help my team win, but an individual goal that I have for myself is that I want to average a double-double,” he said.
Last year it was no secret that Stanley was a spark plug off the bench who had some great games.
“Ben is very athletic and a very good piece to our team,” Hamilton said. “We’re excited to see his progression.”
Another name that both Stanley and Hamilton spoke very positively about is graduate student forward Amir Smith.
“Amir is a super athletic shot blocker,” Hamilton said. “He’s going to be good for us.”
Marrow has increased his scoring average each year. As a junior last season, Marrow averaged 24 points per game, good for eighth in the nation – above notable names such as Carsen Edwards and slightly behind NBA lottery pick Ja Morant.
“Jermaine is a natural leader in our locker room,” Hamilton said. “He’s been put in that position since his freshman year. He does score for us, but he also knows how to rile the guys up and also calm them down.”
HU opens Nov. 6 vs. Mid-Atlantic Christian University in the Hampton Convocation Center.