The East Tennessee State basketball team opens preseason camp Friday night, and coach Murry Bartow has mixed emotions about the occasion.
“There’s a lot of things I’m really excited about,” Bartow said Wednesday, “and there’s some things I’m not. Quite honestly, we’re a little nicked up, and I don’t like the timing of that.”
For starters, senior forward Tommy Hubbard is nursing a shoulder injury and hasn’t been able to work out for the past week or so. Hubbard redshirted last season with knee problems, after leading the Bucs in scoring and rebounding as a junior.
“Tommy is going to be fine,” said Bartow. “This is an injury that occurred on the floor, but it’s nothing that will require surgery. It’s just been rest and rehab, and he’s close to being full-go again. It’s pretty obvious we’re expecting big things from him this season.”
Hubbard and senior forward Isiah Brown were both named to the Atlantic Sun’s 11-player preseason all-conference team Wednesday. Brown was also named defensive player of the year.
Others on the ETSU injury watch list heading into camp are guard Marcus Dubose, the high-scoring junior-college transfer, and junior forward J.C. Ward. Dubose took a blow to the head and was held out of practice Tuesday, while Ward has been slowed by ankle and knee issues.
The Bucs will open camp a little after six o’clock Friday night, then practice twice on Saturday.
“And we’re off and running,” said Bartow, whose team opens its season Nov. 12 at Virginia Tech.
n The annual Bluenanza festivities are set for Oct. 20 in the Dome.
The evening will begin at 6 with a complimentary indoor tailgate buffet for ETSU students and BASA members who are season-ticket holders. Basketball action starts at 7 and includes scrimmages by both the men’s and women’s teams, and 3-point shooting and slam dunk contests.
The event is presented by Johnson City Honda, and admission is free to the public.
n ETSU has reportedly received a verbal commitment from high school guard Petey McClain of Alabama.
McClain averaged over 17 points, five assists and three steals as a junior at Faith Academy in Mobile. He also starred for the Alabama Celtics AAU team, which reported on its website that McClain ultimately chose between ETSU, Chattanooga, Western Carolina and Morehead State.
The 6-foot, 175-pounder can make his commitment official during the early signing period next month.
n The women’s soccer team continues to roll through its conference schedule, thanks in a large part to midfielder Genna Petersen.
The senior from Loveland, Ohio leads the A-Sun in scoring, with 22 points on nine goals and four assists. She was named player of the week Tuesday after scoring three goals in victories over North Florida and Jacksonville.
“I wouldn’t say she’s been a surprise, because she’s clearly a very good player,” said first-year coach Adam Sayers. “That was evident from the first time we saw her play.
“Early in the season it was key for us as coaches to plan the best strategy to let players flourish individually within the system. Genna has certainly taken advantage of that in her midfielder role. She’s playing beautifully.”
The Lady Bucs have won six straight matches and stand atop the A-Sun standings at 5-0 (10-3 overall). They play at Stetson on Friday night and at Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday in a battle for first place.
FGC is currently second at 4-0-1.
“It’s another big weekend for us,” said Sayers. “We’re doing a lot of preparation work during the week, and the mood is good. The players have a lot of confidence in each other, and it shows.”
n The baseball team finishes fall workouts this weekend with its annual Blue and Gold World Series.
The intersquad event will take place this year at Joe O’Brien Field in Elizabethton. Games are set for Saturday and Sunday at 1 o’clock.