The 2018-19 basketball season is right around the corner for the men’s basketball team. Here is a look at this year’s squad.
The schedule for the men’s team is loaded with ranked teams and Ohio Valley Conference competition. The biggest game on the Colonels’ schedule is when they travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to face the Tennessee Volunteers who are ranked sixth in the AP polls.
Another key game in the non-conference portion of the Colonels’ schedule is when they face off against Kansas State. Kansas St. is ranked 12 in the AP polls to start the season.
“It’s exciting for our guys,” head coach A.W. Hamilton said. “We are what we are right now. We are picked eleventh out of 12 teams to finish in the OVC. We got a huge mountain to climb. We haven’t made the OVC tournament in the last three years,” Hamilton said.
This is Hamilton’s first year leading the Colonels. He is the 21 coach to be hired as head coach of the men’s team.
Hamilton spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach under Kevin Keatts at North Carolina State University.
The Colonels will open the sea- son in an exhibition game against Kentucky Christian University on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in McBrayer Arena.
The first regular season game will be against Marshall University at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7. Marshall is ranked 25 in the nation and this is the first time a ranked team has played at McBrayer Arena since 1983. Hamilton wants the fans to come out and support the Colonels.
“I want them (fans) to get behind them. These are great guys [...] Colonel nation will be so proud of them because of their effort. It means something when they put the jersey on and I’m ex- cited for the fans to get to know the team,” Hamilton said.
A key player on this year’s team is senior Nick Mayo. He was named to the preseason All-OVC team at the annual OVC media day that was held in Evansville, Indiana.
During Mayo’s junior year season, he earned his first team All-OVC honors for the third consecutive season and ranked third in the conference in scoring at 18.0 points-per-game.
He climbed to eighth on EKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,582 points and will enter his senior season on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. The current record is 1,832 points.
Mayo is one of only six Colonels ever to record 1,500 points and 500 rebounds in a career. He also broke EKU’s career blocks record during the 2017-18 season with 122 rejections.
“He (Mayo) is a phenomenal player, he is a once in a lifetime type of player. He is 251 points away from being the all time lead- ing scorer, he is our all time leader in block shots. He is an incredible person [...] we have to get him the ball and get him great looks,” Hamilton said.
The Colonels have many goals this season and they hope to improve from the previous seasons.
“We want to be constant with our effort and we don’t want to be the team that talks about things and not really do it. Playing harder with more passion than anybody in the country, that’s our goal,” Hamilton said.
EKU was picked to finish 11 out of 12 teams in a preseason poll of league head coaches and sports information directors.
“What I will promise is I’m not going to let anyone outwork us and we are going to play with great pas- sion and when people come in the arena, they are going to be proud of the maroon and white team,” Hamilton said.