With a roster that includes nine returning players and 12 first-year players, the Hawks are poised for improvement.
“I’m expecting to see a lot of improvement out of this team this season,” Pugh said. “We have some good seniors, who have been part of the program and who we expect to supply leadership. We also have a good group of young players that we feel can help us. The team has been coming along during the preseason and we’re ready to see what we can do.”
Leading the team will be seniors Jason Varney, Austin Hill, Terry Moorer, Tyler Stubbs and Cody Tackett. Varney has scored 581 points in 71 games (8.2 points per game) during his college career and Hill, the Hawks’ third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder last season, has averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game the past two seasons.
Moorer averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last year in his first season with the Hawks and Stubbs has appeared in 35 games the past two seasons. Tackett missed time with an injury last season, but is a three-year player for the Hawks.
This season will be the Hawks’ first as a member of the USA South Athletic Conference. Huntingdon, which finished 7-18 last season with three overtime losses and 10 losses by 10 points or less, was picked ninth in the conference preseason poll. Pugh said the Hawks are hoping to surprise some people.
“Being part of a new conference is going to be fun. It’s exciting for the players and coaches,” Pugh said. “When you’re part of a conference, one of your natural goals is to compete for a conference championship. We were picked near the bottom in the preseason poll, so I hope that is going to be motivation for our guys to prove people wrong.”
Huntingdon opens the season in the Berry College Tip-Off Classic this weekend. The Hawks play Emory & Henry at 3 p.m. on Friday and will face Berry on Saturday at 5 p.m. Live stats for both games will be available at http://livestats.
“These two games are going to be a good barometer for us,” Pugh said. “Both teams are similar to the talent level we’re going to see in the conference. We’re going to try and play a lot of guys this weekend to gain experience and see where we stand right now.”