JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's men's basketball team makes its 2012-13 debut in nearby Johnson City, Tenn., with an exhibition contest against East Tennessee State University.
The Eagles return all five starters from 2011-12's 15-14 team, including a pair of preseason All-SAC first teamers in Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) and Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.). Both players scored 487 points last season.
Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson said he's just thankful the Eagles will get to see a team in a different colored uniform.
"That practice environment, it's a good positive place, but it gets old after a while," Benson said. "It's a different challenge, our guys have stayed focus on practice and improvement, but it's time to play somebody else."
ETSU lost seniors Adam Sollazzo, Isiah Brown and Tommy Hubbard to graduation. Collectively, the group combined for a total of 3,091 points in their careers. As such, the Bucs debut a lineup that features four freshmen, two sophomores and two junior college transfers. Marcus Dubose is ETSU's lone returning double-digit scorer with 10.8 points per game.
"We know and our players know that this doesn't count in terms of a win or loss," Benson said. "But it's still a challenge and one where our guys want to put their best foot forward and test themselves. We don't put a great deal of stock in it, and our prime focus is getting ready for Nov. 12 against Lee-McRae."
While ETSU debuts several new players, the Eagles move a couple of Division I transfers into the mix. O'Dell Parker (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Cody Henegar (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) made their way to Mossy Creek from Wofford and UNC Greensboro, respectively.
"We had a little scrimmage and both O'Dell and Cody were impactful," Benson said. "Great thing about both of them is that they are team guys. I think they'll fit in well with a group of established veterans that know how to get things done on both ends of the court in our scheme."
Coverage of Carson-Newman's exhibition opener begins at 3:45 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network, tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. following the women's team's exhibition contest with the Bucs. Eagle fans can listen on 106.3 ESPN Radio the Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com.