SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College’s 2012-13 basketball season is set to tip off Thursday evening on the Scooba campus when the Lions and Lady Lions play host to Georgia Highlands College on the Scooba campus. A 5:30 p.m. women’s game will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. men’s contest at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
Ranked eighth in the NJCAA Top 25 preseason men’s poll, sixth-year EMCC head coach Mark White returns three players from last year’s 23-6 Lions squad that claimed the program’s third straight NJCAA Region 23 Tournament title en route to making a third consecutive appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament held in Hutchinson, Kan. Returning for the Lions this year are sophomores A.J. Wade (6-3, 165) of Northeast Lauderdale High School, Noxubee County’s Earnest Hunter (6-8, 215) and Micah Walker (6-5, 185) of Jonesboro, Ark.
This year’s EMCC men’s team figures to receive immediate contributions from a trio of transfers. Expected to lead the way is swing man Jarekious Bradley of Memphis, Tenn. A 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard/forward, Bradley averaged 14.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game a year ago for Midland College in Texas. The former Memphis East High School product also shot 57 percent from the field, including 37 percent from three-point range, and 71 percent from the line last season at Midland. Transferring to EMCC after a season at the NCAA Division I level, former Brandon High School standout Trey Brown (6-8, 210) and North Carolina native Keynan Pittman (6-10, 230) spent last season at Tennessee-Chattanooga and James Madison University, respectively.
Aiming to bounce back from last year’s 7-16 season, eighth-year EMCC head coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions bring back just two players from a year ago in forward Dajah McCarty, of Quitman, and guard Brianna May, from East Rankin Academy. The lone Lady Lion player to start all 23 games a year ago, McCarty averaged 4.2 points on 47-percent shooting and was the team’s second-leading rebounder at 5.0 boards per outing. An 11-game starter in the EMCC backcourt last season, May made a dozen 3-pointers as a freshman and handed out 15 assists.
Looking to lead a newcomer-laden Lady Lions squad will be transfer point guard Narshanda Malone, who sat out last season at Lake Michigan College after prepping at West Side High School in Gary, Ind.
Live streamed video and audio of Thursday’s season-opening EMCC basketball games will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-basketball and can be accessed through EMCC’s athletics website - http://athletics.eastms.edu. EMCC media director/athletic video coordinator Derek Cody will handle the play-by-play duties for the Lions and Lady Lions during the course of the 2012-13 basketball season.
Following Thursday’s season opener, the EMCC women’s team will hit the road to take on San Jacinto College, out of Texas, Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) in Baton Rouge, La. Both East Mississippi basketball teams then return home to entertain rival Meridian Community College on Thursday, Nov. 8. The men’s/women’s doubleheader will get started at 5:30 p.m. at EMCC’s Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.