published Monday, March 24th, 2014

Chattanooga Mocs move into meetings

UTC men's basketball coach Will Wade speaks to the media at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
UTC men's basketball coach Will Wade speaks to the media at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The math will add up — eventually.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Will Wade signed four newcomers to the team last fall.

He has only one graduating senior.

That puts UTC over the limit of scholarship players.

So the upcoming player-coach meetings have a significant importance this week when Wade sits down with each of member of his team in the coming days.

"I think it will work itself out over the course of our player-meetings," Wade said. "Some guys will say, 'This is not for me.'

"We're going to have 13 players and other people [walk-ons] who want to be here and are excited about what we want to be doing."

Zaccheus Mason is the only senior on the team. He earned defensive player of the year honors from SoCon coaches. He's been invited to the Portsmouth Invitational.

But that's just one scholarship that's freed-up for next season. Wade's team went 18-15 with 12 scholarship players and finished second in the Southern Conference regular season.

Wade has signed four players in the fall: Forward Duke Etheridge, forward Shaq Preston, guard Brandon Maxwell and guard Jacolby Mobley. Plus, transfers Tre McLean and Justin Tuoyo sat out the season per NCAA rules. If UTC played today, they'd be part of the rotation if not starters.

So somebody from the current team has to find another opportunity to continue their college basketball career.

Wade said that he will leave the decision up to the players. He and his staff will spend the better part of this week meeting with players, going over their success and struggles -- on and off the court -- and come to some conclusions.

"With the players, I want to get their impressions of the season, and I'll tell them what I thought abut their season," Wade said. "We need to develop a plan, and we'll see how each player fits into out plans."

The back end of the bench is no secret.

It's been walk-ons Alex Bran, Andrew Houts as well as scholarship players T.J. Williams and Anthanee Doyle throughout the season.

Bran played in 24 games, Houts played in 10 contests. Williams, a post player, played in 24 games last year, averaged 7.6 minutes, 1.6 rebounds and 1.5 points per appearance. Doyle, a point guard, played in 11 games with an average of 6.5 minutes and 2.1 points per appearance.

Wade will meet those guys in the same manner as players in the rotation.

"You want to hear their honest appraisal, what they think of our structure and how they think they improved and grew," Wade said. "I've got notes and an idea of where I think each of them are."

The goal for next year is not a second-place finish in the season like UTC had this year. The goal is to win it, and then win the SoCon tournament which gets the champion into the Big Dance.

"We've got increase our work ethic another 10 notches," Wade said. "If you don't want to work harder then it's not going to go well. What we're doing is not for everybody.

"That doesn't mean we have bad players or a bad person. We've got to make sure we're all on the same page in terms of ethics on the ourt and academically"

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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