At the point
Senior Keegan Bell (6-foot-1, 185) runs the show. He leads the break and the secondary break and often calls the offensive sets. A good game from the senior captain — either shooting or passing — usually results in a good game for the Mocs. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.68 assists per game last year and shot 32.6 percent from the 3-point line.
On the wings
Senior Omar Wattad (6-5, 216) is a preseason All-Southern Conference selection who loves to live outside the 3-point line, where he shot 36.1 percent in averaging 14.3 points per game last year. Senior Ricky Taylor (6-5, 180) also enjoys shooting the 3, but he’s also the best guard at getting to the rim and averaged 13 points in 2011.
In the paint
Neither senior Chris Early (6-7, 235) nor junior Drazen Zlovaric (6-9, 214) is playing his natural position. But they are big, athletic post players who can score inside and also can hit 3s when open. Early can bull his way to the goal and led the Mocs with 6.3 rebounds per game, while Zlovaric, who can shoot a hook with either hand, sat out last season after transferring from Georgia.
First off the bench
Freshmen Ronrico White (6-3, 165) and Lance Stokes (6-6, 201) have proven during the preseason that they are capable of playing right away at the Division I level, and White will be in the running for SoCon freshman of the year. They’ll be the first to sub for Wattad or Taylor. Jahmal Burroughs (6-6, 206) is the first post reserve off the bench and has proven to be more comfortable during his second year with the Mocs and does the dirty work similar to former Moc Kevin Goffney. Junior Dontay Hampton (6-1, 165) is the primary relief for Bell and averaged 9.2 minutes per game last season.
Deeper in reserve
Redshirt freshman Martynas Bareika (6-4, 186) is starting to get the hang of college basketball. He could break into the rotation by the end of the calendar year. Freshman Jared Bryant (6-7, 234) adds size and athleticism, and sophomore Drew Baker (6-7, 199) is steadier in his third year. Sophomore Zaccheus Mason (6-5, 242) last played competitive basketball three years ago and has shown signs of both catching on and being lost. Freshman Trey Brown (6-7, 192) is a redshirt candidate with a bright future. Redshirt freshman Ryan Gentle (6-5, 181) is a walk-on.
Calling the shots
John Shulman is entering his eighth season as head coach and is the second-longest tenured coach in the SoCon behind Davidson’s Bob McKillop. The Mocs won SoCon tournament in 2005 and 2009 and have at least shared four division titles. Shulman’s overall record is 121-106 and 66-58 in the SoCon. His assistants — Brent Jolly, Rick Cabrera and DeAntoine Beasley — all played at Tennessee Tech when Shulman was an assistant there for Jeff Lebo.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...