The Seawolf men’s basketball team is a couple months away from taking the floor for the 2013-14 season. Their mission will be to top the 18-9 record they posted last year, which included wins over two Division I opponents in the Great Alaska Shootout: UC Riverside and Loyola Marymount.
Losing seniors Liam Gibcus and Abebe Demissie forced the Seawolves to make up for roughly 20 points and 10 boards per game. The two also brought valuable size around the rim.
Upon first look at the class of incoming players, it appears the transition from Gibcus and Demissie will go smoothly. All four newbies stand at least 6-foot-7 and have made their mark playing forward and center.
For the recruits — Jackson McTier, Brad Mears, Jacob Craft and Kalidou Diouf — it won’t fall on them to match the production that’s walked away. Their main roles will be to bang down low and feed off the loaded Seawolves backcourt.
McTier is a 17-year-old freshman forward from Rockhampton, Australia, who measures in at 6-foot-8. He’s got a history of winning, and he tallied 17.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a high school senior. His youth and near double-double average makes him an enticing prospect.
UAA has hit pay dirt recruiting out of Australia before, and McTier could continue the success.
Mears is starting his green and gold run as a junior having played two seasons at Snow College, where he shared the floor with current Seawolf star Teancum Stafford for a year. He hails from South Jordan, Utah, and should be an asset in the post with his 6-foot-9, 225-pound build.
Head coach Rusty Osborne thought Mears’ numbers at Snow College (4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game) were deceiving and expects him to show he’s more talented than they suggest.
Craft’s story is eye-catching because he’s entering the UAA basketball program alongside his wife, Emily Craft, who’s signed on to play for the women’s squad. He’s a rangy 6-foot-7 forward from Sandy, Utah.
What adds to Craft’s intrigue is his age. He’s 22 years old, yet still has four years of eligibility left. A Latter-day Saint Church mission and a redshirt season at Central Wyoming are to thank for his unique situation.
Diouf is an import from Germany who will redshirt this year as he becomes acclimated with the change in environment. Like McTier, he is accustomed to winning — his high school team captured four straight national titles.
Western Oregon transfer Brian McGill and former Second Team All-GNAC selection Travis Thompson are also taking the court this season after redshirting last year. The pair should put UAA’s set of guards over the top.
With an influx of young and veteran ball players and a healthy set of established returnees, the ‘Wolves have the ammo to top their previous campaign.
The Seawolves recently scheduled an exhibition game with BYU in Provo, Utah. The Nov. 2 matchup will serve as a stiff welcome back to action.