WCU men’s basketball 2017-18 season preview

WCU’s men’s basketball team is hoping for a better season. Photo by Marcus Smith.

Following a tumultuous year filled with inconsistencies leading to a 9-23 finish, the Western Carolina men’s basketball team are hoping to establish rhythm early in 2017-18 season as it braces for Clemson on the road in its season opener at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10.  

This will be the second year in a row that the Catamounts open up the season against an ACC opponent as it battled Miami in an embarrassing loss 92-43 last season.

There are several key players who could be poised to lead this team to the promise land with senior guards Haboubacar Mutombo and Devin Peterson atop of the list.

Mutombo led the Cats in scoring averaging 11.7 points per game with help from Peterson as he averaged 10.5 points per game, but they were the only two players to average double digits for the season.

As a result of its lack of firepower, the Catamounts finished last in the SoCon in several offensive categories including averaging 61.4 points per game, along with shooting 30.7 percent from deep.

Peterson was a sample size of the team’s poor three-point shooting averaging 18.5 percent from beyond the arc.

“I personally have been working on my jump shot. Working on my chemistry with the other guys. My body, I’ve been in the weight room a lot to get stronger, and most of all watching a lot of film from last year,” said Peterson on what he’s been doing to improve his game.

Fortunately, the Cats get back a pivotal player in senior guard Deriece Parks who had a pretty good season until his knee injury sidelined him for the year averaging 9.4 points per game in 10 games.

“The biggest thing for me coming off last year, it was a horrific injury, but understanding that the game is bigger than me. I knew I had to get back in shape. I knew I got to be a leader and that’s what they were missing last year. I mean, me bringing that back I feel like we’re going to be a pretty good team,” said Parks.

Coach Larry Hunter‘s points of emphasis for him and his coaching staff was to make his returning players better physically and improve every player’s individual skill set in practice, as well as providing depth with the addition of four new pieces to the puzzle.

A day in the life of WCU’s men’s basketball team