2006-07 WSSU Men's Basketball Season Outlook
Nov. 10, 2006
Nov. 10, 2006
Without change there can be no progress...Without progress, there can be no breakthroughs. The Rams will live by that philosophy in 2006-07 as they enter into their first full season at the Division I level. Winston-Salem State University has a new coaching staff, new players, a new NCAA Classification, and will enter into uncharted waters for not only the men's basketball team but for the WSSU Athletic Department, and the University as a whole. WSSU has one of the most difficult schedules in the nation as the Rams play only six home games and will face 11 different conferences from around the nation as WSSU travels over 5,000 miles to face national basketball powers before making the full-time switch to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference next season.
The Rams most noticeable change will be the addition of first-year head coach Bobby Collins who replaces Philip Stitt who resigned his duties in June of 2006. Collins is no stranger to Division I head coaching responsibilities as he was a two-time MEAC Coaching award winner at Hampton University where he led the Pirates to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship last season. A member of the Pirates' coaching staff since their transition to the NCAA Division I level in 1995, he was a part of the success that saw Hampton elevate itself to the highest echelon of college basketball en route to three MEAC titles, and the most stunning upset in NCAA Tournament history when the Pirates knocked off then-#2 seed Iowa State University.
Collins has made a commitment to building a quality Division I program at WSSU and has already begun implementing sweeping changes to overhaul what is already a very successful team. He inherits a team that is accustomed to winning as no player on the 2006-07 roster has ever experienced a losing season at either the high school or college level. Collins, who was named
Collins' coaching career began as a restricted earnings coach with the Old Dominion Monarchs (1994-95). Under the leadership of former Monarch Head Coach, Jeff Capel, Collins aided the Monarchs to a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship and a first round victory over
While wearing the Colonel uniform, Collins was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) All-Freshmen Team and Honorable Mention All-OVC as a senior. Following his collegiate career, Collins played in the
Followers of WSSU are firm in their belief that Collins is the final piece of the puzzle that completes WSSU's transition to the nation's highest level of intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division I level and they are ready to celebrate the accomplishments that continue to cast WSSU basketball into the national spotlight.
Collins will be the beneficiary of a team that returns seven upperclassmen as the roster will feature three seniors and four juniors, all of whom have extensive collegiate playing experience. All the seniors on the roster are players that have spent at least four years with the Rams as Curtis Hines, Lowen Wray and Norman Carter all arrived at WSSU as freshman and have been a part of the rich tradition and history that is Ram Basketball.
Gone are the Rams' top three leading scorers as WSSU has lost to graduation the services of Alleggrie Guinn and Corey Parker, as well as having lost rising-senior forward Audly Wehner. Guinn completed a stellar four-year career at WSSU where he ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list with 1,535 points. The Rams' leading scorer in 2005-06 he averaged 15.0 points per game and added 4.3 rebounds. Despite being only 6'3", Guinn led the Rams in blocks with 28, and steals with 66 and is among the Rams' career leaders in both categories.
Also missing will be Corey Parker who ranked third on the team in scoring last season with 10.0 points per game. A slasher who created his own shot, Parker shot 51% from the field last season (103-202) and his production will be missed on the offensive end of the court. The final starter to depart was Audly Wehner. A rising redshirt senior, Wehner withdrew from school prior to the fall semester as the Rams will lose his 12.4 points, and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Wehner finishes a three-year career at WSSU with 1,014 points.
Despite the losses, the Rams cupboard is far from bare, as Bobby Collins' team will mount a stiff challenge to all opponents. The Rams will respect all the teams on the 2006-07 schedule, yet will fear none of them.
The Rams will again be a guard-laden team with nine backcourt players gracing the roster, the most seasoned of which is junior point guard Roy Peake. Peake appeared in, and started, all 29 games for the Rams as he recorded a team runner-up 835 minutes of playing time. A true pass-first, shoot-second point guard, Peake led the CIAA in assist to turnover ratio with 3.75 assists per turnover. Peake placed second in the conference in assists per game with 5.17 helpers per contest as well as ranking fifth in the league with 1.93 steals per game.
A quality player who is an excellent ball handler, Peake must improve his scoring average in 2006-07 and will be looked towards to take more shots as he averaged only three shots per game last season, en route to hitting nearly 36% of his shot attempts.
Joining Peake in the back court is guard/forward Curtis Hines. A 6'2" senior from
Joining the college-tested trio of guards will be walk-on Andrew Porter and four true-freshman guards. Porter, one of two walk-ons on the 2006-07 roster, is a fan favorite who played in eight games last season. Porter turned in an average of 1.4 points and nearly one rebound per game last year. He will use his defensive intensity to record more playing time this season as he looks to break out in his sophomore year.
Porter will be one of five inexperienced guards on the roster, as he is joined by four true freshman guards. Topping that recruiting class is Jarmel Baxter. A 6'3", 185 pound slasher from
The second cousin of former NBA'er "Sleepy" Floyd, he will look to make an immediate impact this season. The final two newcomers in the WSSU backcourt will be Patrick McCandies and Jason Smith. McCandies is the tallest of the pair as the 6'5", 166-pounder from
The 2006-07 Rams will again be undersized as the tallest player on the roster is Julian Murphy-Long who is 6'9". WSSU will again rely on smaller players playing bigger than their stature, and the best example of that will be sophomore Jamal Durham. A 2005-06 CIAA All-Rookie Team selection,
will need to use his style and aggressive play to create scoring opportunities this season. At 6'7", he will likely be undersized versus the power forwards of many of the Rams' opponents. He will look to improve upon his 2005-06 totals of 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest. Murphy-Long brings a 6'9" frame to the court looking to make more of an impact in 2006-07 with his sights set on a more integral role for the Rams. Appearing in six games last season, Murphy-Long tallied 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per contest last season.
The lone newcomer to the WSSU frontcourt will be David Moore.
The Rams are coming off of a season in which they posted a 19-10 record and advanced two rounds in the CIAA Tournament before falling to Bowie State University by four points in the semifinals. The Rams will have their work cut out for them as they boast a challenging schedule which includes road games against national championship contenders Kansas (December 19) and Georgetown (December 16) as the Rams face eight teams that played in the post season in 2005-06. WSSU faces four teams that made NCAA Tournament appearances in