ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Former Dade County High School guard Andrew Houts has begun practicing with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as a walk-on.
Houts has bounced around several college teams since leaving Dade County, including Columbus State, Chattanooga State and a short previous stint as a walk-on at UTC. He did not play last year and will be a junior this season.
"We're in a position to turn over every stone," first-year coach Will Wade said during the SoCon Tip-Off on the Biltmore Estate. "Houts came to try out, and he stood out and we asked him back. All of his paperwork is clear and we're happy to have him."
Houts' addition gives the Mocs 13 healthy players in practice, including transfer Justin Tuoyo. The other walk-ons are sophomore guard Alex Bran and freshman Jay Wimbley.
"We need bodies and he's going to have the opportunity to compete for minutes," Wade said. "He's a prolific 3-point shooter, and anybody who can shoot 3s can find a role on our team."
'Big Mike' at Samford
Former Tyner Academy player Michael Bradley, who began his college career at Connecticut before transferring to Vincennes University, is about to begin his junior season at Samford. The Bulldogs open Nov. 8 against Martin Methodist.
"Mike hadn't played competitively in a couple years, and you can see that he's champing at the bit to get out there on the court," coach Bennie Seltzer said. "For a guy that size, we don't do a lot of pounding on him. He knows there's an opportunity to get out there and play major minutes."
Bradley redshirted as a freshman at UConn, then relinquished his scholarship for Andre Drummond and played in nine games last year.
Samford has area duo
Former Gordon Lee High School guard Kassidy Blevins is one of six freshmen competing for playing time in the Samford women's backcourt, coach Mike Morris said. He added that senior center Christy Robinson from Northwest Whitfield is healthy after missing the final 14 games of last season due to mono.
"I've been very pleased with Kassidy because she has come in and you wouldn't really know that she's a freshman," Morris said. "We have six freshmen and I think she'll have an opportunity to be in the mix."
Robinson averaged 3.1 points in the 17 games she played last season.
"She's finally back to full strength in the last couple weeks," Morris said. "She's a good player who's been sick or hurt, and we hope she's healthy because she can bring a lot to our team."
Asheville through '17
Southern Conference officials agreed at the spring meetings to extend the contract to hold the league basketball tournaments in Asheville through the 2017 event.
There will be a few changes to the U.S. Cellular Center concourse areas when the tournament begins on March 7.
"The last few years we've tried to bring the tournament to Asheville," said Asheville Sports Commission executive director Ben VanCamp, "but we're going to bring the charm and funkiness of Asheville into the arena."
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.