Navy Men's Hoops Opens 2009-10 Season at Defending Big South Champ Radford
Nov. 11, 2009
Nov. 11, 2009 - Avworo Interview
Nov. 11, 2009 - Lange Interview
Oct. 22, 2009 - Harris Interview
Oct. 22, 2009 - Lange Interview
|Friday, November 13, 2009|
7:00 pm (ET)
Dedmon Center (5,000)
|WNAV 1430 AM / (WNAV.com)|
Pete Medhurst (play-by-play)
|Navy is 0-0 (0-0 Patriot League)|
Radford is 0-0 (0-0 Big South)
|Billy Lange (Rowan, 1994) is in his sixth year at Navy (69-77 at Navy / 108-96 overall).|
Brad Greenburg (American, 1977) is in his third year at Radford (31-32 at Radford / 31-32 overall).
|Overall Series Record|
Navy leads, 1-0
Navy won, 73-71 (OT) in
Annapolis, Md., on Nov. 29, 2008
Navy won, 73-71 (OT) in
Annapolis, Md., on Nov. 29, 2008
|At a Glance: Radford|
|Radford enters the 2009-10 season as the overwhelming favorite to claim its second straight Big South Conference title. The Highlanders return four starters off last year's squad that went 21-12 overall and 15-3 in the Big South.|
Leading the Highlanders is 2009 Big South Player of the Year Art Parakhouski, who averaged 16.2 ppg and 11.2 rpg. He is joined in the interior by 6-8 oower forward Joey Lynch-Flohr who is a preseason All-Big South selection after averaging 13.7 ppg and 5.9 rpg a year ago. In addition, Radford picks up the services of Binghamton transfer Lazar Trifunovic, who was an all-rookie selection in the America East Conference two years ago. Lastly, Amir Johnson returns as a four-year starter at point guard and already has over 1,000 points and 400 career assists.
Brad Greenburg has turned the Radford program around, and last year became the only school in league history to finish seventh or worse the year before (2007-08) and win the conference title the next year (2008-09). The brother of Virginia Tech head coach, Seth Greenburg, Brad has spent several seasons in the NBA as either a scout or an assistant coach.
The 2009-10 edition of the Navy basketball team opens the 103rd season of Navy varsity basketball on Friday, Nov. 13, with a trip to the 2009 Big South Champs, Radford. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm at the Dedmon Center (5,000). For ticket info, call 540-831-5228.
Radio Broadcast Information
The contest will be aired on WNAV (1430 AM) and online at www.wnav.com, with Pete Medhurst calling all the action, beginning at 6:45 pm with the Navy Basketball pregame show.
Television Broadcast Information
There will be no television for this contest.
Live Stats Information
Live stats will be provided on the basketball page of RadfordAthletics.com. In addition, Navy fans can get live updates during Navy's home and away games by following the Navy men's basketball Twitter page at Twitter.com/Navy_Basketball. Gametracker, via CBS College Sports, will also be available for all of Navy's home games in the 2009-10 season.
Navy / Patriot League All-Access Information
Tonight's game will be streamed by BigSouthSports.com (subscription). If you can't make the game, fans now have the opportunity to watch all of Navy's home games, all of Navy's Patriot League road games and interviews all year long online as part of Navy All-Access. For just $9.95 a month ($79.95 a year), fans can watch Navy basketball from their computer screen. Just sign up at www.NavySports.com, and once registered, fans need to just log-on to Navy All-Access to view content.
Scouting Navy (0-0)
The Midshipmen are coming off a stellar 19-11 overall record and a third-place finish in the Patriot League standings a year ago. The 19 wins were the 11th most in school history and matched the most for the program since the 1999-00 team went 23-6. Navy returns three starters from last year's squad, and four if you count Romeo Garcia, who would have started all year long had it not been for a pair of hamstring injuries that limited him to nine games overall with seven starts. Navy is returning just 50.1 percent of its scoring, 55.8 percent of its rebounding and 54.0 percent of its assists from last year. Only two-time defending league champion American lost more, as it must replace all five starters.
The Midshipmen were picked to finish seventh in the Patriot League preseason poll. Over the last two seasons, Navy has surpassed its preseason poll placement by at least three spots. In 2007-08, Navy was picked seventh, but finished second. In 2008-09, the Mids were picked sixth, but finished third in the final standings. Navy senior guard Chris Harris became the 19th member of the 1,000-point club in the final game last year. He currently has 1,003 points ranking 19th on the Navy list, 69th on the all-time Patriot League list and second among active players in the league in career points, behind Lehigh's Marquis Hall (1,151 points). Harris is the league's returning leader scorer at 15.4 ppg.
Junior center Mark Veazey returns to man the paint after averaging 7.9 ppg and a team-best 5.5 rpg. Veazey expects to have a big year in the paint after starting 46 games the last two years.
The last returning starter is junior point guard O.J. Avworo, who averaged 5.2 ppg and 3.7 apg in his first year at Navy. Avworo spent a year at Idaho before taking over the reigns as Navy's floor leader.
About Navy Head Coach Billy Lange
Billy Lange (Rowan, 1994) returns for his sixth year in charge at Navy, owning a 69-77 record on the banks of the Severn River. In his eighth year overall, he owns a 108-96 record after posting a 39-19 mark in two years at the Merchant Marine Academy in 2000 and 2001.
Lange was named the 2008 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Navy to a second-place finish in the Patriot League after being picked seventh in the preseason poll. Last year, he led Navy to a third-place showing after being picked sixth. For his efforts last year, he was named one of 12 finalists for the prestigious Skip Prosser Award and was 10th in the mid-season voting for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year Award.
Lange Turns Program Around
Billy Lange and Paul Evans are the only Navy coaches (out of 19) that have equaled or surpassed the previous year's win total in their first five years in charge. In addition, Lange's 69 wins in his first five years rank as the third most in school history. Navy's final RPI has climbed all the way from 304 in his first year at Navy to 167 a year ago.
Patriot League Preseason Poll
The Midshipmen have been selected seventh in the Patriot League presesaon poll in voting done by the league coaches and sports information directors. It marks the ninth straight year that Navy has been picked sixth or worse in the preseason poll. However, if past indications mean anything, Navy will surpass its expecations and then some.
Two years ago, Navy was picked seventh in the preseason, only to finish second. Navy and Drake (Missouri Valley) were the only schools nationally to rise from the bottom two in their preseason polls to the top two in their respective conferences that year.
Last year, Navy improved three spots from the preseason poll, finishing third after being picked sixth in the preseason.
The Series with Radford
This will be just the second meeting all-time between the two squads, as Navy won last year's battle, 73-71 in overtime, in a game played two days after Thanksgiving. Kaleo Kina scored 26 of his game-high 30 points in the second half and overtime and neither team led by more than seven points in the contest. With the Navy lead at one, Kina connected on a three-pointer to push the lead to four with 20 seconds left. Navy then withstood three Radford attempts at the OT buzzer to hold on for the two-point win.
Navy shot 35.5 percent from the field and went just 25-of-41 from the free throw line. Navy was aided by 23 Radford turnovers.
Navy Against the Big South and the State of Virginia
Navy owns a 24-3 all-time record against the Big South Conference, having played four of the nine teams in the league.
Against the state of Virginia, Navy is 141-84, having played 12 different Division I schools in the state.
Including last year's 86-68 loss to Towson which snapped a modest two-game winning streak in season openers, the Midshipmen are a stellar 76-26 (.745) in season openers. The Midshipmen are 2-3 under head coach Billy Lange in lid-lifters. Including this year's contest at Radford, Navy will have opened on the road in five of Lange's six years in charge. The lone exception was the 2005-06 season, in which Navy hosted a Georgetown team that was seconds away from beating eventual NCAA Champion Florida in the Sweet 16.
Navy's two season-opening wins under Lange have come against Loyola (Md.), 75-63, in the 2006-07 2KSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and against Longwood, 88-72, in the 2007-08 debut.
More Debut News
Some more facts of interest about players making their Mid debut. O.J. Avworo is the last player to start his first game at Navy, when he earned the nod last year against Towson after transferring from the University of Idaho. Avworo would go on to start all 30 games a year ago for Lange's club.
The last freshmen to start their first game at Navy was T.J. Topercer and Trey Stanton in the 2006-07 season opener against Loyola (Md.). Below is a list of freshman to start in the season opener since Billy Lange took over in 2004-05.
Mids in Every Game They Play
Navy is just one of 22 teams nationally that have not lost by 20 or more points in the last two seasons (start of 2007-08). Navy's worst loss during that span was an 86-68 setback in the season opener to Towson a year ago.
Going one step further, Navy is just one of 14 teams to have not lost by more than 18 points in the last two seasons.
The list of teams is quite impressive (Butler, Memphis, VCU, UConn, Cleveland State, Rhode Island, Temple, Davidson, Georgetown, Navy, North Carolina, Saint Joseph's, Texas, Utah, Baylor, Kansas, Miami (Fla.), New Mexico, Niagara, Tennessee and Wright State).
Success at the Stripe
In addition to being long-distance snipers, Navy has also seen a large improvement at the free throw stripe under Lange.
Navy has recorded four of the top eight single-season free throw percentage totals in school history under Lange, including a school-record 74.9 percent in the 2007-08 season. Over the last four years, Navy is 1,762-of-2,398 (.735) from the charity stripe.
Navy Loves The Long Ball
In Billy Lange's five previous years as the head coach of the Navy basketball program, Navy has rewritten the three-point record books.
Navy has made a three-pointer in 184 straight games and at least three three-pointers in 134 consecutive games.
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Navy is 1,130-of-3,301 (.342) from beyond the arc. During the five years, Navy has averaged a whopping 226 three-pointers per year. In the last three years, Navy has recorded the top three single-season three-pointers made and attempted totals, including school records of 288 made and 820 attempted in 2007-08.
The Midshipmen enter the season having won five straight games in November dating back to last year. After losing to Towson in last year's opener, the Mids rattled off five straight wins in the month.
One of the wins was the 73-71 overtime win over Radford on Nov. 29. Three of the wins were by double-digits and the other was a 102-99 triple-overtime thriller against William & Mary.
In addition, Navy has won six straight home games in November, dating back to a Nov. 14, 2007, loss to Robert Morris.
Home Sweet Home
The Mids went 11-4 against non-conference foes and 7-0 against non-conference foes at home last year, its first undefeated record against non-conference foes in Alumni Hall history. The 11-4 record included wins over NCAA Tournament participant Radford, and conference tournament finalists, Mount St. Mary's and Texas-San Antonio. Navy enters this year as having won nine straight home games against non-conference foes, dating back to Dec. 3, 2007.
Navy recorded a 12-3 mark at home last year, the most home wins since 1999-00 (16-2) and fourth most in Alumni Hall history.
In addition, Navy led the Patriot League in attendance (league games only) by averaging 2,949 fans per game. The Mids have sold out Alumni Hall (5,710) in back-to-back seasons against Army.
Navy owns a 158-90 (.637) record all-time in Alumni Hall, winning its 150th game in the facility against Radford.
The League's Top-Scoring Attack
Navy has led the Patriot League in scoring in four of Billy Lange's five years in charge, including two in a row. Navy led the league in scoring in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Holy Cross led the league in scoring five times in six years (1991-96) and four years in a row (1993-96). Holy Cross is the only program to ever lead the league in scoring three times in a row, let alone four times, as well as four times in a five-year span. Navy's 76.3 ppg average in 2007-08 was the highest in the league since Holy Cross averaged 77.2 ppg in 1995-96.
Navy Seniors to Carry Torch
Navy seniors Chris Harris, T.J. Topercer and Scott Brooks have been instrumental in Navy's resurgence over the last three years and look to continue the upward trend in 2009-10.
Over the last three years, the Mids are 49-41, including a 19-11 record last year, equaling the program's highest win total since the 1999-00 team posted a 23-6 record.
In addition, over the last two years, Navy's senior class has led the Mids to the second-best Patriot League and overall record during that time frame, behind two-time defending league champ American.
Alumni Hall Success
Navy will enter 2009-10 with a nine-game winning streak against non-conference foes at Alumni Hall. The Mids recorded their first undefeated non-conference slate last year with a 7-0 record.
Now in its 19th year at Alumni Hall, Navy owns a 158-90 (.637) record in the facility, including a 20-9 (.690) mark in the last two years.
Harris to Serve as Team Captain
Senior guard Chris Harris has been named the team captain for the 2009-10 season, after being a second-team all-Patriot League honoree in each of the last two years. The Mechanicsville, Va., native has scored 1,003 points and dished 202 assists, becoming the first Navy player in school history to score 1,000 points and dish out 200 assists by the end of his junior year.
Harris is the leading returning scorer in the league after averaging 15.4 ppg a year ago. Last year, he ranked fourth among the league's returnees.
Harris ranks 19th on the school's career scoring list with 1,003 points. He surpassed the 1,000-point barrier in last year's Patriot League Tournament contest against Colgate. Harris ranks 69th on the career Patriot League scoring list. Harris and Lehigh's Marquis Hall, are the only players with 1,000 career points.
Harris also ranks third on the Navy career three-pointers made list with 200, including 176 over the last two seasons. His 200 three-pointers are the 16th most in the country for an active player. Among the players on the list, only UMass' Ricky Harris (191), Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn (178) and Boston U.'s Corey Lowe (177) have more treys in the last two seasons.
Harris Named Among Nation's Best Shooters
Senior guard Chris Harris was named the nation's 21st-best shooter by Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com. Harris, who over the last 51 games, is shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc, ranks third on the school'scareer three-pointers made with 200, needing just 37 more to tie for the top spot at Navy.
Harris was 10th among mid-major players and the only Patriot League player named to the list of the top 50.
Looking for Patriot League First
Navy is trying to become the first school in league history to have the league's leading scorer in four straight years. Navy is already one of two schools (Holy Cross / 2005-07) to have won three straight individual scoring titles. The 2006-07 Patriot League scoring title was shared by Holy Cross' Keith Simmons, Navy's Greg Sprink and Army's Jarell Brown.
The Mids have as good of a chance as anyone, as Chris Harris is the league's top returning scorer from a year ago at 15.4 ppg.
Patriot League Snub?
Despite being the league's top returning scorer, Chris Harris was left off the five-person preseason first team.
Harris and Quinnipiac's James Feldeine (17.0 ppg last year) of the Northeast Conference are the only two players nationally to be the league's top returning scorer and left off their respective preseason all-league teams. Feldeine actually led the Northeast Conference in scoring last year.
Ironically, Navy and Quinnipiac will battle on Nov. 30 in Annapolis.
It's So Hard To Say Goodbye
Navy will start 2009-10 without four key cogs of its 19-11 season from a year ago. The Mids lose the league's leading scorer in Kaleo Kina (18.0 ppg), sniper Adam Teague, sixth-man Clif Colbert and big man Brian Richards.
The quartet helped Navy to a .500 record (59-59) over their four years at Navy and last year accounted for almost 50.0 percent of Navy's scoring, rebounding and assists.
Over the last four years, Navy was 34-24 at Alumni Hall, including 20-9 in the last two seasons. With the group leading the way, Navy hosted tournament games in two straight years for the first time since 1997 (finals) and 1998 (all three games). The group combined to score 2,938 points (24.9 ppg), grab 1,294 rebounds (11.0 rpg) and dish out 568 assists (4.8 apg) in their careers.
Navy Owns League's Top Attendance Mark
One of the reasons Alumni Hall has been a tough place to play has been the attendance at the facility. Over the last two years, Navy has posted the fourth (2008) and seventh-best (2009) attendance averages in facility history.
In 2009, Navy led the Patriot League in league games only, averaging 2,949 fans for its seven league games.
So far in facility history, 478,738 fans have filed through the turnstiles, meaning that the 500,000th fan will likely come through the ticket gates at some point this year.
Mids Pace League in Turnover Margin
One stat that has gone rather unnoticed recently is turnover margin, but Navy is one of the league's, and nation's best, in that category.
Navy led the league (league games only) in turnover margin for the second straight year at +2.86 a year ago. Two years ago, Navy led the league (league games only) at +4.14.
Since Lange took over in 2004-05, Navy has been among the national leaders in turnover percentage defense (No. of possessions that end in a turnover for the opposing team). Despite last year's team taking a step back in percentage, the Mids still led the league in turnover margin.
Lange To Vote in USA Today/Coaches Poll
Navy head coach Billy Lange will be the Patriot League's representative in the USA Today / Coaches Top 25 poll released every Monday.
# GO NAVY #