Seawolves unofficially kick off basketball season

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Former Seawolf Christian Leckband goes in for a dunk at the men’s basketball alumni game on Oct. 28 at the Alaska Airlines Center. Photo credit: Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

With the first official conference game a week out, the Seawolves men’s basketball warmed up with the alumni game on Oct. 28 at the Alaska Airlines Center.

After a dramatic roster change from the 2016-17 season, this warm-up game proved to be a first competitive glimpse into the new team for head coach Rusty Osborne and the rest of UAA.

“It’s three guys trying to get to know 12 newcomers, and 12 newcomers trying to get to know themselves and the other three, so it’s a day-by-day basis and we’re excited for the pieces we’re putting together,” Osborne said.

The game proved to be a complete take over by the current team with a final score of 90-52, the current Seawolves maintaining a 48 percent shot record. Senior guard D.J. Ursery, senior forward Jacob Lampkin and junior forward Brian Person significantly contributed to the win. Newcomers Maleke Haynes and Josiah Wood made their debut appearances.

Ursery took over the offense by scoring 16 points for the team on Saturday, in addition, Lampkin accumulated 16 rebounds.

Lampkin was also joined by Pearson in gaining rebounds for the game, who finished off with six total.

Of the 12 new additions to the team, Haynes and Wood made a point to stand out early on in the season. Haynes who is senior transfer from University of the Pacific, a Division I program, came to the team as a point guard. The Stockton, California local accumulated an impressive 14 points and 5 assists for the game.

Wood, another California recruit, transferred to UAA as a junior to play as guard. The 6’5″ Wood managed to accumulate 10 points and 3 blocks for the duration of the game.

The current Seawolves were opposed by former UAA basketball players Christian Leckband, Connor Devine and Shane Bannarbie.

Leckband, who just retired from collegiate basketball in 2016, joined the game as a forward to lead the team with 15 points and 5 rebounds.

Devine, a UAA record holder in single-season blockers and former all-star of the team was featured as a center to accumulate 7 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.

In addition, a significant alumni contributor, 14-years post collegiate career, was Bannarbie who played with the Seawolves 2001-03. Bannarbie was able to boast the accumulation of 11 points for the game.

With the season finally gearing up after a small practice game, the Seawolves are already coming in strong after an announcement on Oct. 27 that named Ursery and Lampkin to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference Team. This also proved to be a significant achievement considering they were the only conference newcomers named to the team.

After maintaining successful Division I accomplishments, both Ursery and Lampkin transferred over from University of the Pacific.

“They had actually played in the [GCI Great Alaska Shootout], actually played against us for their freshmen years. So they were familiar with UAA and familiar with the program. Jacob [Lampkin] contacted us after their last season, and then D.J. [Ursery] joined and we kind of took it from there,” Osborne said.

From the Tigers, Ursery followed Lampkin by being the sixth-leading and fifth-leading scorer, respectively. Both newly endowed Seawolves maintained an approximate 6 points per game average.

However, the 2017 dynamics might be slightly different after the loss of guard Ashton Pomrehn, guard Sekou “Suki” Wiggs, forward Augustus Simmers, guard Diante Mitchell, guard Damien Fulp, guard Spencer Svejcar, forward Sjur Berg, forward Travis Parrish, forward Tayler Thompson, forward Corey Hammell, forward Jackson McTier and forward Connor Devine.

“Pomrehn had personal things come and decided to [postpone] his last year to go down closer to home, closer to his family to deal with some ongoing issues. There’s a lot of rumors out there that he’s not coming back, but he’s determined to come back and get his degree and play his senior year,” Osborne said.

During the 2016 season, the Seawolves were able to finish off the regular season games at No. 2 in the conference, only just behind Western Washington. UAA had a conference record of 15-5 which ended up being a .750 win percentage, in addition to the overall .724 win percentage (21-8). The Seawolves managed to successfully win every single home game of the 16 that they hosted.

The 2017 Seawolf men’s basketball squad will get their first chance to prove themselves at an away game, Nov. 3 in Irvine, California.