Catamount Basketball ’10-11 Season Recap

The Western Carolina University Men’s Basketball team’s season ended Sunday evening in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals.  Suffering an 86-72 loss at the hands of eventual tournament champion Wofford, the Catamounts, who finished with an 18-15 overall record, only hope to continue play would be by reward of an at-large bid to a postseason tournament from the NCAA.

Despite the departure of several seniors from last years 22-11 team, the 2010-11 Catamounts accomplished a few things that the 2009-10 squad could not.  For example, this year’s Catamounts won the North Division outright in the regular season, compared to a second place finish behind arch-rival Appalachian State.  Speaking of arch-rivals, the Catamounts were able to sweep the series 2-0 against the Mountaineers this year, a complete inverse of last year’s 0-2 record in the series.  Although the Catamounts were not able to match last year’s win total, they were successful in obtaining wins when it mattered most:  in conference play and in the “rivalry” games.

“I am extremely pleased with our season overall. We consistently improved individually and as a team all season long. We became a very competitive team in conference play and tied for the North Division Championship winning eight of our last nine regular season games. This was a great group to coach,” said Head Coach Larry Hunter.

Hunter’s club was led by senior guard Mike Williams, who led the team with a 15.5 points per game average and was named second team all-SOCON by the coaches and media. Freshman guard Trey Sumler also contributed with an 11.5 ppg average, and was rewarded for his efforts by being named SOCON Freshman of the Year.

Overall, the Catamounts finished with four players averaging double figures in scoring:  Williams, Sumler, and forwards Richie Gordon and Harouna Mutombo, who both averaged about 10 ppg.  Gordon was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year, while Mutombo and Williams were also named to the All-SOCON tournament team.

The Southern Conference postseason awards were littered with Catamount players, a testament to the kind of individual season each of the team’s key contributors had.  The team also will lose two starters in Williams and Gordon to graduation, as well as backup forwards Anthony Phillip and Blake Gallagher, but the team appears to have a solid foundation to build upon in Sumler and Mutombo, as well as freshman starter Brandon Boggs.