GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s basketball season gets underway Saturday afternoon as the Spartans host Division II foe Lees-McRae in an exhibition game on campus at Fleming Gymnasium. Game time is set for 2 p.m. and will follow the women’s basketball exhibition game against Francis Marion. Admission is FREE and seating is general admission.
The Spartans are led by sophomore forward Kayel Locke (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), who was third on the team in scoring last season and is the top returning scorer from last year. Locke averaged 9.9 points per game and grabbed 4.4 rebounds per game as a freshman. Junior Nicholas Paulos (Salt Lake City, Utah/New Hampton School) was second on the team last year with 63 three-pointers and has hit 102 long-range shots in his first two years on the team.
Senior guard Drew Parker (Houston, Texas/LaPorte) is the Spartans’ most experience member, having played in 94 career games, including 54 starts in his first three seasons. Parker led the team with 80 assists last year and is shooting 37.4 percent (70-of-187) from three-point land in his career.
The new-look Spartans welcome in seven newcomers and three players who redshirted last season. Leading the way among the newcomers is junior forward Kyle Cain (Chicago, Ill./Arizona State) who averaged a team-high 13.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in the Spartans' four-game trip to Spain earlier this month. Cain sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules prior to playing two years at Arizona State. He appeared in 60 games, including 40 starts for the Sun Devils, averaging 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds.
The Spartans have a six-member freshman class led by guard Tevon Saddler (Aberdeen, Md./St. Frances), guard/forward Tyrone Outlaw (Roxboro, N.C./Person County) and guard Diante Baldwin (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian). Saddler was the Maryland Player of the Year last season for St. Frances when he averaged 19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He scored 20 points in his lone start on the Spain trip, going 9-of-16 from the field against Catalunya Select.
Outlaw was a two-time Associated Press All-State selection at Roxboro and was a two-time conference Player of the Year. He averaged 24.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game as a senior. He scored in double figures twice on the Spain trip. Baldwin helped High Point Christian to a 55-9 record during his career, including a 25-7 record as a senior. He averaged 10.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game last year.
Second-year head coach Steve Hardin leads Lees-McRae into this season. The Bobcats posted a 3-23 record last year, but welcome in 13 newcomers to the team in Hardin’s first full recruiting class. UNCG and Lees-McRae met in the regular season last year with the Spartans posting an 86-47 victory at the Greensboro Coliseum. Paulos led the way for the Spartans, scoring 26 points off the bench as he hit 8-of-12 three-pointers in 24 minutes of play. Locke added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench in the 39-point victory.
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