THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A pair of tough preseason games have prepared the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen basketball team for the upcoming 2012-13 season, which is set to tip off Nov. 15. The squad welcomes back eight returning players, adding seven new faces, though only five are set to play collegiate hoops for the first time.
Entering his 19th season at the helm of the Kingsmen, head coach Rich Rider is excited about working with a talented and eager group of student-athletes.
“We played some tough preseason exhibitions and as always we will face some solid teams at both the Surf’s Up Classic and Thrivent Financial Tournament,” Rider said. “We have a great group of guys this year. Our shooting is much improved. We are ready to get the season underway.”
The strong core of upperclassmen is led by senior Jayvaughn Nettles who averaged 10.4 points per game last year. The forward shot at a .357 clip for the season and knocked down 83 baskets with 19 from three-point range. Nettles also converted 44 free-throws in 2011-12. In 20 games he led the Kingsmen with 29 steals, while recording 74 rebounds, 11 offensive, 12 blocks and handing out 33 assists.
The junior quartet of Collin Knudsen, Steven Davis, Martin Flowers and Michael Palmer will assume important roles in 2012-13 after solid sophomore seasons.
Knudsen saw 403 minutes of action, connecting for 32 buckets, contributing 97 total points. The guard started 11 times and stepped on the floor in all but one game. He was responsible for both 22 steals and 22 assists a year ago.
Last winter Davis appeared in all 24 games, earning one start, while logging 330 minutes. He shot .309, connecting for 17 buckets with five from long range and was 18-for-24 at the line. Davis tallied 39 rebounds, 26 assists and 17 steals.
In 22 games, with five starts, Palmer scored 65 points and was 7-for-9 at the charity stripe. The junior finished with 35 rebounds as he logged 344 minutes for CLU during his sophomore season.
Flowers made three starts in 15 appearances, finishing with a .341 shooting percentage on 29-for-85 shooting. He hit five from three-point range and was 24-for-33 from the line for the Kingsmen.
After a year hiatus 6-foot-6 forward Jeremy Sulker-Hall will also be an impact player for Cal Lutheran. As a freshman played in 25 games, making nine starts, and was effective going 39-for-79 to shoot .494 overall. He also grabbed 86 rebounds with 32 on the offensive end of the court, while tallying nine blocks and 11 steals.
Senior Jordan Williams, junior Henry Leff and sophomore Andrew Atakpo each return for another season. Tyler Nunn is new to the varsity squad after spending time in the Junior Varsity program.
The freshman class is comprised of 5-foot-10 point guards Lanaki Apele and Dan Wade, 6-foot-6 forward Guy Lynott and centers Cody Williams andCorey Quintana, who stand 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7, respectively.
Lynott, Williams and Quintana add height to the roster and talent to the hardwood, while Apele and Wade will both likely see time directing traffic. Look for Wade, Lynott and Williams to work their way into the line-up early on an impact the success of the CLU program.
Cal Lutheran opens the regular season Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. against Bethesda in the Gilbert Arena.