The Sam Houston men’s basketball team opens its 2008-09 schedule Friday at 3 p.m. at Johnson Coliseum when the Bearkats play host to Schreiner University of Kerrville.
The Mountaineers, a member of the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference, are led by 6-3 sophomore guard Riley Battle who averaged 11.2 points per game last year.
When the Bearkats take the floor against the Mountaineers, Sam Houston fans will want to have a program in their hand to identify all the new faces.
Five lettermen and one red-shirt are all that return from the 23-8 Bearkat team of 2008-09. Only in his first season at Sam Houston in 1998-99 (four) and in 2003-04 (three) has SHSU head coach Bob Marlin returned a smaller group of lettermen in his previous 10 seasons at Sam Houston.
"Definitely we will have more new faces in our lineup than our fans have seen in awhile," Marlin said. "This is the largest group of newcomers we’ve had since the year after the 2003 NCAA playoff team. Bearkat fans are going to like this group. We’re pleased with our recruiting this year and the quality of our new student athletes. We’ve really enjoyed working with these guys in the preseason.”
The Kats return only 33 percent of their scoring (721 of 2,192 points) and 36 percent of their rebounding (463 of 1,278 boards).
DeLuis Ramirez, 6-4 senior forward, and Ashton Mitchell, 5-11 junior point guard, were starters last yaer. Ramirez averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds while Mitchell ranked 5th in assists and 9th in steals in the Southland Conference.
Senior post players 6-8 Barkley Falkner and 6-10 Domas Kvedys and sophomore forward 6-4 Josten Crow all saw action in reserve roles in 2007-08.
Arthur Zulu, a 6-8 transfer from Jacksonville College, red-shirted at Sam Houston last year and brings athleticism to the post position.
The large group of newcomers has changed Marlin’s approach to the 2008-09 season from the past couple of years.
"With a solid group of returning players the past couple of seasons, we had guys who came to camp knowing exactly the way we’re going to play," Marlin said. "This year, it’s been different. From a teaching stand point, it’s been a lot of fun. Hopefully, we are going to be a better shooting team and will have good depth. There will be a lot of competition for starting roles and that’s always a positive. We’re eager to get on the floor and see what everyone can do"
Corey Allmond, Preston Brown, Lance Pevehouse and Kendrell Thompson join the squad as transfers. Antuan Bootle and Drae Murray are freshmen.
Allmond, a 6-1 guard from Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, was the Western Junior College Athletic Conference’s sixth leading scorer with 17.9 points per game. He was named to the All-WJCAC first team.
Brown, a 6-6 pound power forward from Cowley County Junior College in Arkansas City, KS., averaged 10.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and shot 55 per cent from the floor while leading the Tigers to a 31-3 record.
Pevehouse is a 6-1 shooting guard who led Clear Creek High School to the regional quarterfinals two years ago. He played for Army Prep in New York in 2007. He averaged 11.6 points per game as a freshman at San Jacinto College last year.
Thompson is a 6-3 guard from Collin County Community College where he averaged 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. He earned All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honors as a freshman.
Both Pevehouse and Thompson have three years of eligibility at Sam Houston.
Bootle, a 6-7 post from Houston Saint Thomas, was a first team TAPPS All-State selection, McDonald’s All-America nominee and District "Most Valuable Player". As a senior, he averaged 13.1 points and 18.2 rebounds per game with a .543 field goal percentage.
Murray, a 5-10 Huntsville product, was a first team All-District and All-Region selection who averaged 16.1 points and 5.2 assists, He was named as District 18-4A "Most Valuable Player.”
Sam Houston will play four of its first five regular season games at home in Johnson Coliseum. The Bearkats head to Lubbock Monday to face Texas Tech, then play host to North Texas Thursday, Nov. 20; Western Michigan Tuesday Nov. 25 and Wright State Saturday Nov. 29.