On April 25, the ETSU men’s basketball team gathered to host their annual end of year banquet. The difference this time was they invited the public to attend.
Tickets were sold and seats were saved for anyone in the general public that wanted to join the Bucs for dinner and to watch the unveiling of the banners to commemorate the monumental 2016-2017 season.
Looking back, the Bucs nearly won the regular season outright but ended up in a tie with University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Going into the SoCon Tournament, the Bucs faced Mercer in the first round, Wofford in the second and going into the final was another shootout with UNCG.
The Bucs came out on top and won the SoCon Tournament, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, a long-time goal for the Bucs and Head Coach Steve Forbes.
“We talked about creating your own legacy and hanging your own banner,” Forbes said. “And tonight they were able to hang their own banner in their practice facility, which is what we started off the season to do.”
The Bucs hung their banners for both the Southern Conference Tournament Championship title and their NCAA Tournament appearance.
Individual talent sparked during the season as well. Senior A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has played all four years of eligibility at ETSU and this year competed in the 2017 Denny’s Slam Dunk competition and placed second.
Not only did his individual accomplishments shine, but his passion for the team really came in the success he and his teammates found together.
“It’s really what I came to ETSU for,” Merriweather said. “I worked four hard years for this and to see these banners drop is amazing.”
The Bucs are graduating six seniors, including Merriweather and starting guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.). Until this week, there had been little discussion of new signees since Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) signed on as guard.
On Thursday, Forbes announced that Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) would be joining the team in the fall.
Rodriguez is a junior college transfer from Northwest Florida State College.
With the banquet under wraps and the banners unfolded, the 2016-2017 season for men’s basketball has finally come to an end.
However, the Bucs, with their new lineup, are prepared to start working this summer and this fall to have another memorable season.