The 2018-19 edition of the Emory's men's basketball team makes its debut on Sunday, November 4, when it plays at NCAA Division II member North Georgia in an exhibition game. The Eagles and Nighthawks will square off at the 3,600-seat Convocation Center on the University of North Georgia campus starting at 7:00 pm (EST).
The exhibition can be seen via webcast:
Emory head coach Jason Zimmerman enters his 12th season with 10 returning veterans from last year's squad that fashioned an overall record of 23-5 en route to earning the program's sixth straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, where it advanced to the Round of 16 for the fourth time in five years. The Eagles finished second in the University Athletic Association with a 12-2 ledger.
Slotted in the No. 18 position in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Preseason Poll, the Eagles were recently chosen as the team to beat in the UAA Preseason Coaches Poll.
Among the returnees for Emory is sophomore Romin Williams (Harvey, LA), 5-foot-9, who landed Second Team All-University Athletic Association acclaim after registering a team-high scoring average of 15.1 points per contest, good for fourth place among league players. Named the UAA Rookie of the Year, Williams chalked up 21 double-figure scoring outings in establishing a school season record for most points by a freshman (408 pts.) He knocked down a team-high 64 three-point field goals, the ninth-highest total in school history.
Senior Gebereal Baitey (Morristown, NJ), 6-foot-2, is one of two returning starters back in the fold, and looks to build upon a solid 2017-18 that saw him toss in 11.0 points per contest and produce 18 double-figure scoring outings. One of two players to have drawn starting nods in all 28 games last year, Baitey topped the squad with 43 steals with his 1.5 per-game average in that department third in the UAA.
Joining Baitey as a returning starter, senior Beau Bommarito averaged 26.8 minutes, 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per playing stint. The 6-foot-3 Bommarito registered double-figure scoring on 10 occasions and produced six contests with two or more three-point field goals, finishing the campaign with 25 makes from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Matt Davet, 6-foot-7, will be a key front liner for the Eagles after coming off the bench in every game a year ago, averaging 8.4 points per outing while placing third on the team's scoresheet with 38 three-point field goals. A double-figure scorer in 11 games, he ranked as the club's top point producer on four occasions.
The University of North Georgia, led by 16th-year head coach Chris Faulkner, is looking to bounce back from last season's record of 12-17, which included a 10-12 slate in Peach Belt Conference, good for sixth place in the 12-team league. Junior guard Ephraim Tshimanga is the Nighthawks' top returning scorer at 11.3 points per contest.
Emory opens the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Piedmont College in a game that is scheduled to tip at 7:00 pm.
Coach Jason Zimmerman Quotes
(On preseason practice) – "Preseason is going very well. We are 15 practices in, and our four seniors have done a great job of taking the baton from last year's seniors who set a great example on how to be successful at Emory, helping us get off to a good start."
"We have three newcomers in the mix compared to last year when we had seven, so it has a bit of a different feel to it in that there are not as many players having to go through the leading process – the drills we run, the practices that we run and the tempo of those practices. So, we've been able to go a little faster than we were last year with the rate of what we are learning."
"And, even though we have just three new guys on the roster, everybody will be playing a bit of a different role this year, so it has been exciting to watch our guys grow into those roles over the first two weeks and we are looking forward to that continuing throughout the season."
(Points of emphasis during the preseason) – "We are always looking to have great pace, whether it be in our drills, when we scrimmage or in our competition in practice, at both ends of the court.
We need to compete – the emphasis of competing to win in each drill – we aren't necessarily going to win every possession, but we are going to compete every possession to win.
We are looking to guard better. Our defensive numbers were pretty good last year, but I think that we can improve upon those this year. To do that we are going to work on the execution of details of what we are doing on the defensive end. I think we've gotten better and we'll continue to work on that."
(On the exhibition against North Georgia) – "The next step in our process during the preseason in the opportunity to compete against somebody other than ourselves. We'll scrimmage on Friday and then go to North Georgia for an exhibition on Sunday. We've been able to scrimmage them the past couple of years and Chris (Faulkner) does a great job with the program there. We're excited about going up there and to play in their new arena as well as having the opportunity to continue to improve as a team."