The WVU Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams open their official seasons this weekend during the school’s annual homecoming activities.
Tech will host a tailgate party from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday outside the Baisi Athletic Center, with a parade scheduled for 1 p.m. in Montgomery.
The Tech women’s basketball team opens its season at 2 p.m. Saturday against Point Park (Pa.) University, while the Golden Bear men take on Cincinnati-Clermont (Ohio) at 4 p.m.
Tech’s women are coming off a season during which they won the A.I.I. Tournament and advanced to the NAIA Division I Nationals. The Golden Bear men won 20 games while finishing as A.I.I. Tournament runner-up.
Tech will also host its annual men’s basketball alumni game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The triple-header is free to the public.
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Tech’s men’s head coach, Bob Williams, says his team is eager to begin the season.
“We have had 21 practices to date and the kids are excited to go up against somebody else,” said the veteran coach, entering his 12th year at the helm in Montgomery. “I like this group.
“Even though we lost an All-American (David Rawlinson), this team is more experienced, bigger and deeper. They have a chance to be good.”
In 2012-13, Tech posted a 20-12 record and finished as A.I.I. runners-up, losing by a point in the tournament championship game in Montgomery. Key returnees include senior captain Brandon Burgraff (6-foot-1, G, Matewan), junior captain Jaren Marino (6-foot-3, G, South Charleston), sophomore Eddie Gordon (5-7, G, South Charleston), senior Armond Perez (6-6, F, Chambersburg, Pa.), and senior Floyd Campbell (6-6, F, Chicago, Ill.).
Top newcomers include freshman Ra’Shaud Kincaid (5-9, G, South Charleston), junior Leon Cooper, Jr. (6-2, G, Freeport, Bahamas), and junior Jauries Thomas (6-6, F, New Orleans, La.).
Burgraff led the Gold team to a 55-54 win over the Blue squad in the annual Blue-Gold game last Friday night. He scored 18 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left.
The Golden Bears are an NAIA Division I independent, and also have dual membership with the USCAA. The men’s squad will play teams from six different states and the District of Columbia. The A.I.I. Tournament will be held at Life University in Atlanta, Ga. on March 7-9, 2014.
“This should be an exciting team. We are more athletic this season and it’s really a great group of kids. They will be fun to watch,” says Williams.