JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the second part of a two-part series analyzing the Carson-Newman men's hoops team position-by-position. This preview breaks down the Eagles' frontcourt with sophomore post player Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.).
Carson-Newman returns much of its post presence for 2014-15 with junior Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Williams leading the way.
"We know how each other plays and we know each other as well off the court as we do on it," Williams said. "We got rolling toward the end of the season last year; we hope we can continue that this year."
Brooks produced 14 games where he scored double digits, 19 games where he grabbed at least five rebounds and three games where he was in double digit rebounds as a sophomore. He had his best scoring effort in the Eagles' opener against Barton when he dropped 18 on the Bulldogs (11/15) off a career high seven made field goals. That contest was one of three games where he scored at least 15 points, the others were versus Tusculum (11/20) and versus Queens (2/22).
The Knoxville native collected his first career double-double against Anderson (2/19) in a home win over the Trojans with 10 points and 13 rebounds. The 13 boards marked a career high and were a part of back-to-back double digit rebound games for Brooks. The game before, he pulled down 11 defensive rebounds in a win at Brevard.
Meanwhile, Williams became Carson-Newman's first freshman since Corbin Jackson to pull down a double-double; he did so with 27 points and 10 rebounds in a road win over Newberry (3/1). Both totals would be career and season highs for Williams.
Williams led C-N and was second in the SAC in field goal percentage, sinking 62.6 percent of his shots. His career highs for made field goals and attempts also came against Newberry. He was 10-for-13 from the field. Williams closed the season on a tear by scoring in double figures in seven of the Eagles last eight games. He averaged 13.6 points during that stretch run.
Much like how Carson-Newman's guards will work to replace Antoine Davis and Ish Sanders, the Eagles' post players will also be looking to shoulder the loss of their scoring load.
"We need to work better together down low," Williams said. "We had a lot of one-on-one looks last year because of Ish and Antoine on the wings. This year, we'll have to use one another and adjust to double teams that will come."
"Our bigs can move very well," Williams said. "With our depth down low, we can sub to keep people fresh and hopefully wear other teams down."
Rogers made nine starts early in his sophomore year before coming off the bench for the latter stages of the season. Averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Had the first five double figure games of his career before the new year.
He dropped a career high 14 in a home win over Catawba (12/7). In that game, he also set career highs for made field goals (7) and field goal attempts (11). That game was a part of a seven game span where Rogers averaged 10 points a game. He collected his first career double-double in that span with a 10-point, 11-rebound effort in a home win over Lees-McRae (12/2).
Burke averaged 2.5 points per game and Kelley 1.2 in their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively.
"We have to figure out how to use our newcomer's games to help out the way Antoine and Ish did," Williams said. "The newcomers all have a great attitude. They want to win. Their mindset and work ethic is right."