Steve Forbes is about to enter into his first season as coach of the ETSU men’s basketball team. The Buccaneers will play their first exhibition game on Nov. 5.
“We’re really excited to play a team other than ourselves,” said Forbes. “The guys have been playing really hard, but we need to play another team to see where we’re at.”
The Bucs will start the regular season with a game against Green Bay on Nov. 17 at 6 a.m. The game will be televised as part of ESPN’s 24 hours of basketball coverage.
The Buccaneer schedule will not get any easier before conference play starts. They will go on the road against teams such as Charleston Southern, Villanova and Georgia Tech.
Then, on Dec. 22, they will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to play the University of Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“Our schedule starts out tough with the big road games, and I don’t know much about the conference right now, but it should be a good conference to compete in,” said Forbes.
The coaches polls predicted that ETSU would finish fourth in the conference behind UT-Chattanooga, Wofford and Mercer.
ETSU returns key players from last season, including A.J. Merriweather, Lester Wilson and Petey McClain.
Wilson is questionable to start the season due to his recovery from a micro-fracture. Forbes said Wilson has been in rehab and that it could take a little longer to get over, but he is hopeful.
Wilson cannot redshirt this season because he has already done so.
According to ETSU athletics, Shemar Johnson comes to the Buccaneers from Columbus, Mississippi, and is one of two freshmen on this year’s squad.
The other freshmen is Toriana Stokes. Stokes comes from Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Westwood High School, where a local newspaper awarded him Scholar Athlete of the year.
The Bucs have added many new transfer players to this season’s roster. Hanner Mosquera-Perea joined the team from powerhouse basketball school Indiana University.
He came to ETSU following one of his former teammates, Peter Jurkin. Jurkin played two seasons for the Hoosiers before suffering an injury. He sat out last season because of NCAA rules on transfer players but will be ready to go this season.
Ge’Lawn Guyn is another transfer recruited by Coach Forbes. He left the University of Cincinnati after getting injured and having to sit out last season. He will be allowed to play immediately when the season starts.
Last season, the Bucs finished the season with a record of 16-14 and a conference record of 8-10. Coach Forbes was hired to take over the team in March.
Forbes has been an assistant coach at Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Illinois State, Texas A&M, Tennessee and most recently, Wichita State, where the team had a 65-6 record in two seasons. He was head coach of Northwest Florida for two years, where he posted a record of 62-6 and had two NJCAA runners-up.
The Bucs will play their home games in Freedom Hall. This will be their second season in the Southern Conference, which they joined after being in the Atlantic-Sun Conference for several years.