11/18/04 — Newberry a surprise team

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Newberry a surprise team

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on November 18, 2004 1:57 PM

Last year, Newberry was picked to finish last in the South Atlantic Conference, but went on to finish fourth in the regular season standings and come within one game of a conference championship and a berth in the NCAA II Tournament.

This year, Newberry is picked eighth in the conference in the preseason coaches' poll. And the Indians hope to surprise again.

Newberry returns three starters from last year's squad, led by sophomore Tymere Zimmerman (6-3), who averaged 6.7 points per game and was the team's top rebounder with a 6.2 average. Senior Elijah Frasier (6-2) led the team in assists per steals, while David Hampton (6-8) started 21 games as a freshman last year.

Newberry's top two returning scorers came off the bench last year, as junior Michael Dease (6-2) averaged 8.6 points per game and sophomore Tommy Burke (6-5) averaged 7.3 points per contest. The Indians, however, lost their top two scorers from last year to graduation as Rashaad Carter (15.6 ppg) and Brandon Moses (11.4 ppg) combined for 27 points per contest last season.

This year, the Indians will try to blend nine returning players with nine newcomers and a new head coach. First-year head coach Shaun Golden looks to build on last year's success, but looks more to the future than the past.

"In a way of growth, we don't want to dwell on last year," said Golden. "Yes, it was a stepping stone to where we want to go, but this year we pretty much have a new team. We don't want to be haunted by the ghost of last year. We're basically starting from scratch."

Golden admits that with so many new players -- as well as a new coach at the helm -- there will be a period of adjustment for the team, especially after losing its top two scorers from last year.

"It's not an easy feat to rebound from those kinds of losses, especially with new players, a new coach, and a new system," said Golden. "We'd like to have instant success, but realistically, it will take time for the guys to get accustomed to my thoughts and ideas. The returning players will be the core of our success."