Lynchburg College Men's Basketball 2012-13 Season Preview
Coming off the program's best record in 32 years, the Lynchburg College men's basketball team is looking to build on that success during the 2012-2013 season. Under the direction of head coach Hilliary Scott, the Hornets finished 15-11 overall and 9-7 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The 9-7 finish in the ODAC gave LC the fifth-seed in one of the most difficult conferences in the nation and secured a spot in the conference tournament in Salem, VA. With seven players having starting experience and several others who have seen important minutes in their careers, the Hornets are poised to continue their success this season.
Despite the loss of two-time first-team All-ODAC performer Nate Campbell, the LC frontcourt has the experience to be one of the best in the league. Senior Austin Chillemi (Richmond, VA/Trinity Episcopal) earned third-team All-ODAC honors as a junior last year, after averaging 14.4 points and nearly seven rebounds a game. He shot 57 percent from the field and blocked 39 shots, which ranked sixth and third in the conference, respectively. The center will be expected to increase those tallies in his final year at LC. Joining Chillemi up front is fellow senior Michael Wims (Manassas, VA/William Monroe). Wims played in every game last year, starting six of them, and posted averages of 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The long, athletic forward will be one of the key options to replace Campbell at the forward spot. Fellow senior Mike Glover (Verona, VA/Spotswood) has done everything for the Hornets, playing every position at some point on the floor at some point in his career. Glover's leadership and work ethic will be essential to the success of the team this year.
Two more seniors return to the team, both in the backcourt. Brandan Connor (Chesterfield, VA/Benedictine) returns for his final season as one of the best defenders in the ODAC. A starter since his fourth game at LC, Connor is currently fourth in steals in school history with 184. Robby Kaiser (Stroudsburg, PA/Stroudsburg) is a long range threat for the Hornets, as he has shot over 38 percent from beyond the arc during his career. While his shooting is important, the coaches will rely on his energy and leadership to push LC forward.
Four juniors return in the guard rotation. Xavier Parham (Richmond, VA/Highland Springs) had an explosive impact for the Hornets in his first year. He led the league in assists (5.3) and steals (3.5) per game. Parham's speed will set the tone on both ends of the floor. Fellow transfer Harry West (Richmond, VA/Meadowbrook) will be looked upon to continue his solid production at both guard spots this year. He averaged 7.4 points per game and was named to the Mt. Aloysius Coaches vs. Cancer Classic All-Tournament team. Andrew Simmons (Richmond, VA/Meadowbrook) returns for his third year at LC. The explosive guard will be asked to use his playmaking skills once again this year. Junior Manny Hernandez (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) is a high-flying wing who can score in bunches. He earned an ODAC Player of the Week honor in November, and he will be expected to provide a needed boost both offensively and defensively.
Lone sophomore Haden Thompson (Richmond, VA/Banner Christian School) is an athletic player who has the potential to make an impact this year.
Along with those returners, the Hornets welcome seven newcomers to the program this year. Sophomore Gary Boone (Stafford, VA/North Stafford) rejoins the team after having a productive freshman season in 2010-11. Boone played in every game, starting seven of them. He was instrumental in a five-point victory over Hampden-Sydney, scoring 11 points and grabbing six rebounds. His size and skill will bring added depth this year.
The four freshmen forwards are Austen Arnold (Gate City, VA/Gate City), Alex Graves (Waynesboro, VA/Waynesboro), Omar Kemp (Fredericksburg, VA/Riverbend), and Alex Lewis (Newport News, VA/Menchville). Arnold, an athletic wing, provides quickness and depth for LC. He was the Clinch Mountain District and Region D player of the year, as well as being a VHSL all-star. Graves was also the player of the year in the Valley District and Region III as a senior, and the coaching staff will be looking for him to make an immediate impact. Kemp is another athletic post, who is a great defender and will fight for significant minutes. Lewis is an athletic wing, with a huge upside that will be exciting to watch for years to come.
The two newcomers at guard are Tyri Morring (Virginia Beach, VA/Landstown) and Daniel Rowe (Roanoke, VA/Hidden Valley). Morring is a quick and athletic freshman who has a chance to see significant time at the point. Rowe is an intelligent player who can play multiple positions
Rounding out the newcomers is Dylan Hall (Lawsonville, VA/North Stones). Hall joins the varsity squad after spending one year on the JV team. He brings a great deal of versatility to the team.
Head Coach Hilliary Scott and the rest of the Hornets will once again face a challenging schedule. LC will be on the road the entire month of November, heading to the Roanoke College Classic and concluding the road trip with the ODAC opener against Randolph-Macon College on November 28. Including the home-and-away series with the Yellow Jackets, the Hornets play four games against 2011-12 NCAA participants. The remaining two are against ODAC foe and NCAA quarterfinalist, Virginia Wesleyan College. Lynchburg hosts the Marlins on December 4, and travel to VWC for the regular season finale on February 16, in what could be a very important ODAC matchup.