EMORY, Va. – Head Men's Basketball Coach David Willson is ready to start his fourth season as the leader of Emory & Henry College. Last season, the Wasps exceeded all expectations, reaching the ODAC Tournament Semifinals despite being picked ninth in the preseason poll. This year, E&H won't be able to sneak up on anyone as the team was chosen fifth by the league's head coaches. A big factor to that increased recognition is the fact that the Wasps return all five starters while only losing two seniors from last season's squad.
Each of the three seniors on this year's team were starters last season. Myles Turner (Richmond, Va.) was selected to the All-ODAC Second Team a year ago, his second-straight all-league recognition. Turner averaged 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Brandon Self (Norfolk, Va.) averaged 5.8 points and 6.1 rebounds as a junior while Ryan Gravley (Austinville, Va.) averaged career-highs in points (10.1) and assists (3.9). They will be looked upon for leadership.
John Shelor (Giles, Va.) led the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and three-point shooting at 46.9%. Chase Branscomb (Bristol, Tenn.) was great as a sixth man, averaging 9.2 points per game off the bench. Johnny McLean (Charlotte, N.C.) played in 21 games as a sophomore last season and shot 81% from the charity stripe. Noah Walker (Bristol, Va.) led the team in field goal percentage at 75%, while Zach Lawson (Roanoke, Va.) provided additional depth by playing in six games for the Wasps. This crop of juniors will be integral as the Wasps work towards an ODAC Championship.
The sophomore class made a huge impact for the Wasps last season. Aaron Ferguson (Princeton, W.Va.) started 23 games as a freshman and averaged 9.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. Clif Conley (Galax, Va.) and Alic Wynn (Asheville, N.C.) both played in every game a season ago. Conley scored 8.0 points a game while Wynn tallied 5.2. Jarris Hendricks (Mechanicsville, Va.) and Andrew Davis (Wake Forest, N.C.) provided depth to a great class, as they played in eight and six games, respectively.
Coach Willson and his assistant coaches brought in three freshmen for the 2016-17 season. Colin Molden (Apex, N.C.), Damon Scott (Asheville, N.C.), and Jamie Clarke (Lexington, S.C.) will provide strong depth at the guard position. They will gain knowledge in the collegiate game and ensure the Wasps do not miss a beat when their two senior guards leave at the conclusion of the season.
The Wasps kick things off on Tuesday, November 15 as they host Sewanee: The University of the South. The game tips off at 6:00 p.m., on Bob Johnson Court in the John Rutledge King Center.