Tigerville, SC - The time has come for the Crusader men's basketball team to take the court as the start of the 2014-15 season is set to begin.
North Greenville is coming off a season which saw the team finish 14-14 overall and 7-9 in Conference Carolinas play. The Crusaders began the season with a 7-3 first half record before struggling down the stretch and being ousted in the Conference Carolinas Tournament Quarterfinals on the road.
Despite losing two of the team's top three scorers from a season ago, the Crusaders return a host of talent and have added some new faces to give North Greenville high hopes for success in the new year.
Forward Phillip Brown (6'7", 235 lbs) returns for his senior season in red and black after leading the team in points per game (17.3), rebounds per game (11.8) and blocks per game (2.7) while shooting 54 percent from the floor and earning First Team All-Conference honors.
The 2013 season for Brown was highlighted by 16 double-doubles, including a career-high 37 points on 14-for-21 shooting from the floor with 17 rebounds in a win over Lees McRae College. Brown also recorded back-to-back 20-rebounds performances in early January en route to setting a school record for rebounds in a single game and his 331 total rebounds also set a single season record for the Crusader program.
Guard Micah Parker (6'1", 185 lbs) is also back on the court for his final season as a Crusader after averaging 12.4 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game last season in 28 games, including 27 starts. Parker totaled a season-high 30 points in an early season contest against Bluefield State, while recording a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds in a contest against conference rival Limestone College in early February.
Transfer forward LaShawn Alexander (6'7", 245 lbs) will spend his senior season in Tigerville after transferring from Division II Elizabeth City State University. Alexander also spent time at Louisburg College with Parker, where the team accumulated a 65-8 record in his tenure at the junior college level. The big man has proved to be a force in the Crusaders' two preseason scrimmages, having totaled 18 points and nine rebounds against Georgia Southern and 14 points with eight rebounds against Furman University.
Fellow transfer Korval McElroy will have two years of eligibility left on the court after spending time at Polk State College (JUCO). The former Orlando, FL Gatorade 4A Player of the Year is expected to provide the Crusaders with an offensive facilitator and be an immediate scoring threat. Sophomore forwards Troy Blyden (6'5", 180 lbs) and Jai Jencks (6'8", 230 lbs) are back on the court after each player saw significant minutes last season and will provide depth and versatility on both sides of the court.
Freshman Spencer Reaves (6'3", 190ls) is expected to be an immediate offensive weapon for North Greenville after being named Arkansas 2A Player of the Year as a senior at Cedar Ridge High School where he won back-to-back state titles. Junior transfer Chris Brown (6'4", 185 lbs) comes to North Greenville after spending one season each at Winthrop University and USC Salkehatchie.
Newcomer Tommy Wade (6'6", 230lbs) will provide the Crusader frontcourt with depth, size and versatility after being Franklin County (FL) MVP after his senior season of high school. Sophomore guard Luke Edwards (5'11", 185 lbs) will provide the team with depth in the backcourt, primarily at the point guard position.
The Crusaders will kick off the 2014-15 season with a two-day event in Hartsville, SC on the campus of Coker College. North Greenville will participate in the Sodexo SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge on Nov. 14 and 15 which pits South Atlantic Conference member schools against opponents from Conference Carolinas.
North Greenville's first game will take place Friday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. against Coker College with a day-two matchup with Newberry College at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15.
For a complete schedule of the challenge and all video and statistics links, CLICK HERE