Spartans host mid-major power VCU on Thursday
Complete Game Notes
About Tonight's Game
The Spartans host 2011 Final Four participant VCU in their final game before the holiday break ... tonight's game is being aired live on ESPN3 ... tonight's game features two of the youngest head coaches in the country in UNCG's Wes Miller (28) and VCU's Shaka Smart (34) ... the game will be a reunion of sorts between the VCU coaching staff and UNCG Director of Operations J.B. Tanner, who served as a graduate assistant at VCU last season ... the Rams and Spartans have met only once, in the 2010-11 season opener ... VCU won that game 101-86 on Nov. 12 in Richmond ... the Spartans are seeking to snap their seven-game losing streak ... the Rams have won five straight ... VCU defeated UAB, 68-49, on Tuesday in Richmond.
Dement Steps Aside as Men's Basketball Coach; Miller Named as Interim
UNCG men's basketball head coach Mike Dement and Director of Athletics Kim Record on Dec. 13 reached a mutual agreement that Dement will no longer serve as head coach, effective immediately. A national search for a permanent men's basketball coach will be conducted.
Assistant coach Wes Miller was named as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
"In the interests of the long-term health of the men's basketball program, Mike and I have agreed that a change is necessary in order for the program to move forward," said Record. "Coach Dement has been professional, ethical and committed to leading our efforts to enhance men's basketball with the program's move to the Greensboro Coliseum and the nonconference scheduling philosophy put in place over the last three seasons. We thank him for his contributions to UNCG's basketball program."
Dement was in the seventh season of his second tenure as head coach of the Spartans. He returned to UNCG on April 9, 2005, after previously serving as head coach from 1991-95. In 11 total seasons as UNCG's head coach, Dement posted a 124-181 record. The 124 victories are a school record for men's basketball.
UNCG's first men's basketball head coach in the school's Division I era, Dement coached the Spartans to a Big South Conference championship and a school-record 23 wins during the 1994-95 season before leaving to take a head coaching position at SMU.
Dement is 329-368 in 25 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Miller, 28, is in his second season on staff with the Spartans. He has previous Division I coaching experience at both Elon and High Point. A native of Charlotte, Miller lettered three seasons at North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to the 2005 national championship. He graduated from UNC in 2007 with a degree in political science.
America's Youngest Head Coach
With his promotion on Tuesday to interim head coach Wes Miller now becomes the youngest Division I head coach in the country:
Coach Birthdate Age
Wes Miller, UNCG Jan. 28, 1983 28
Andy Toole, Robert Morris Sept. 11, 1980 31
Jason Capel, Appalachian State Jan. 15, 1980 31
Brian Wardle, Wisconsin-Green Bay Oct. 9, 1979 32
Archie Miller, Dayton Oct. 30, 1978 33
Josh Pastner, Memphis Sept. 26, 1977 34
Steve Masiello, Manhattan Sept. 2, 1977 34
Shaka Smart, VCU April 8, 1977 34
Michael White, Louisiana Tech March 2, 1977 34
Brad Stevens, Butler Oct. 22, 1976 35
The Spartans gave fifth-ranked Duke their best shot, but still dropped a 90-63 decision to the Blue Devils ... UNCG led for much of the first half before Duke used a 20-10 run over the final 6:50 of the first half to regain control of the game ... junior guard Kyle Randall tied a season-high with 12 points ... sophomore forward David Williams snatched a season-high four steals ... the Spartans dished 14 assists, the second-best number this season (16, Towson) ... walk-ons Kendall Bethea and Tyler McNeely each scored their first career baskets ... the Spartans forced Duke into 18 turnovers, one off the Blue Devils' season high ... UNCG's 10 steals were a season-high for a Duke opponents.
Simpson Stepping Up
With the loss of leading scorer Brandon Evans to graduation, sophomore swingman Trevis Simpson has assumed the role of top scorer for the Spartans in 2011-12. Currently seventh in the SoCon in scoring at 16.0 points per game, Simpson has scored at least 10 points in 10 of UNCG's 12 games this season.
Simpson scored a game-high 24 points in last Friday's loss to East Carolina. He is averaging 17.1 points over his last seven games, and has 13 rebounds in his last two outings. He scored a season-high 27 points three games ago against Elon.
Brackett Breaks Out
Since being inserted into the starting line-up six games ago at Appalachian State, senior forward Aaron Brackett has played like one of the top front court players in the SoCon. Over the last six games, Bracket is averaging 10.0 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field and 67 percent from the line.
In his season's first start at Appalachian State, Brackett didn't disappoint. He scored a team-high 17 points and just missed a double-double by grabbing nine rebounds. He remained in the starting line-up two nights later at Western Carolina and responded with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Parker Packing a Long-Range Punch
Sophomore guard Drew Parker isn't exactly the first name that comes to mind when pondering UNCG's top three-point shooters. After all, he shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman. But as he enters Thursday's game against Duke, Parker finds himself atop the SoCon leader board in three-point percentage at .581 (18-31).
A recent hot streak has lifted Parker to such lofty heights. Over his last seven games he has made 15-of-25 from 3-point range, including a 1-of-1 effort on Monday at Duke.
Henegar Leaves Team
Sophomore forward Cody Henegar has left the team and will transfer at the conclusion of the fall semester. The 6-foot-8 Henegar appeared in seven games and averaged 0.7 points and 0.3 rebounds. He informed the coaching staff prior to UNCG's game at Florida State.
Spartans Picked Fourth in SoCon North
UNCG men's basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference North Division in 2011-12 according to a vote by league head coaches, the conference office announced in October.
Chattanooga and Davidson are the favorites to capture the Southern Conference's divisional men's basketball titles in 2011-12. Appalachian State senior guard Omar Carter was also named the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year as part of the preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or student-athletes as part of the balloting.
The Spartans are looking to build upon last season's strong finish. After opening the year with a 0-15 mark, a team consisting of 11 first-and-second year players closed by winning seven of their final 16 games. The Spartans also won their opening game at the Southern Conference tournament before falling in the quarterfinals.
Another Tough Schedule
An appearance in the Maui Invitational, home games with East Carolina and 2011 Final Four participant VCU, and road games at Duke, Florida State and Miami (Fla.) highlight UNCG's 2011-12 men's basketball schedule, announced today by head coach Mike Dement.
In all, the Spartans are slated to play 30 regular season contests including 12 home games, all at Greensboro Coliseum. In addition to a full schedule of Southern Conference games, UNCG will square off against cross-town rival North Carolina A&T in late November at the Coliseum.
Spartans on TV
UNCG men's basketball will make seven appearances on national and regional television outlets during the 2011-12 season.
The Spartans will appear four times on Fox Sports South, beginning with the season opener at Tennessee on Nov. 11. Other FSN South appearances include games at Florida State (Dec. 11), at Duke (Dec. 19) and at Miami, Fla. (Jan. 2).
UNCG's game at Georgetown on Nov. 14 will appear on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which serves seven states from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. MASN is available locally in the Piedmont Triad on DirecTV Ch. 640.
The Spartans' home game with 2011 Final Four participant VCU on Dec. 22 will be shown on ESPN3, while a Feb. 4 contest at Furman is part of the SoCon Sports Network's season-long television package. The SoCon Sports Network consists of CSS, UNC-TV and ESPN3.
More television game may be added during the season. Be sure to check with www.uncgspartans.com throughout the year.
Spartans on the Radio
UNCG men's basketball games will once again be broadcast on the Triad Sports Network for the 2011-12 season. Owned by Curtis Media Group, the Triad Sports Network is a trio of AM stations providing all sports programming with ESPN radio affiliation. UNCG will be utilizing 1320 WCOG-AM as its flagship station for the broadcasts. Additional coverage will be provided on a game-by-game availability through 1200 WSML-AM and 1230 WMFR-AM;
WSML-AM's signal is based out of Graham, N.C., while WMFR-AM is based out of High Point. WZTK-FM, Curtis' FM-talk station, has a 100,000-watt signal that broadcasts nearly statewide and into parts of Virginia and Tennessee.
Scott Pryzwansky will once again handle play-by-play duties.
About the Southern Conference
The Southern Conference, which began its 91st season of intercollegiate competition in 2011, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and in helping to build lifelong leaders and role models.
The Southern Conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issue of freshmen eligibility (1922), developing women's championships (1984), to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer.
The Southern Conference is the nation's fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. Only the Big Ten (1896), the Missouri Valley (1907), the Pacific 10 (1915) and the Southwestern Athletic (1920) conferences are older in terms of origination.
The Spartans take eight days off for the holiday break before resuming their season, 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 30 at Richmond.