The Transylvania Times -

By Joseph Swanson
BC Sports Information 

Tornados To Rely On New Talent, Leadership In 2016-17 – Brevard NC


November 24, 2016

The 2016-17 Brevard College men's basketball team. (Courtesy photo)

The Brevard College men's basketball team enters the 2016-17 season featuring a strong group of experienced upperclassman and a freshman class that that will provide a spark to the lineup as the Tornados close out their final year at the Division II level and as a member of the South Atlantic Conference.

"We have had a good pre-season," said head men's basketball coach Lee Burgess. "We have had to integrate a large number of new players, but the leadership within the team has been very good, and the group has come together nicely."

Following the 2014-15 season in which the Tornados finished 6-22, 5-17 in league games, Brevard wrapped up last year with an 82-76 win over North Georgia, a season sweep of Coker, and an 86-81 road win at Mars Hill, before picking up season-defining wins against Anderson, 78-70, and Newberry, 84-82.

The 2016-17 Tornados take the floor this season without longtime starters in Miles Leathers and Alex Moe, while Demarcus Threatt who played one season for coach Burgess and crew will be heavily missed.

Moe wrapped up his four-year blue and white career with solid 2015-16 season as the big averaged 8.8 points per game, six rebounds, while finishing second on the team with 35 three-pointers made.

Leathers, who exited the Tornados' spotlight last spring, will also be a huge loss for the blue and white as the forward wrapped up his incredible career second in all-time scoring with 1,265 points, first all-time with 252 assists and 170 steals, and tied for the career record in rebounds with 596.

Threatt, on the other hand, leaves the Tornados after a remarkable 2015-16 season, in which the guard finished with 586 points, second all-time in the Brevard College individual season records, while his 20.9 points per game and 208 field goals made also rank second all-time.

"Anytime you lose players that have had the impact of the guys we lost it is a challenge to replace them," said Burgess. "We will need to fill the void, not only statistically, but from a leadership standpoint as well. I am looking forward to seeing who is up for the challenge."

With the departure of Brevard's three leading scorers from a year ago, this year's squad will look for several upperclassmen to step up and take over the scoring roles, as junior Stevie Williams (High Point, N.C.), a 6-1 guard who averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds a year ago, will be a player to watch.

Williams is an all-conference caliber player who possesses both the athleticism to get to the rim and finish, while also being able to shoot from the outside and pass to open teammates.

Additionally, senior big Omar El Diraoui (Beirut, Lebanon), who averaged 5.6 points and three rebounds in 2015-16, is a player to watch.

El Diraoui, in limited minutes a season ago, knocked down 18 three-point field goals while blocking 20 shots, second best on the team behind Moe's 21 blocks.

In addition to Williams and El Diraoui, the Tornados return guards D.J. Bostick (Marietta, Ga.) and Evan Dunham (Marietta, Ga.), along with forwards Harry Singh (Hanover Park, Ill.) and Fred Rambert (Greenville, N.C.).

Bostick and Dunham finished their sophomore seasons averaging four points per game, while Bostick pulled down 3.3 rebound per contest and contributed 23 steals for the year.

Rambert, who played just over 11 minutes a game as a true freshman, added 3.3 points, while Singh who played in 21 contests added four blocks and six steals in limited minutes.

While the veterans are sure to see a bulk of the team's minutes to begin the year, look for true freshman Levi Lamb (Atlanta, Ga.), and Jakob Bergen (Winston Salem, N.C.) to make their presence known within the coming weeks as the freshman duo brings athleticism, height and scoring to the mix.

"We have three guys back that started double digit games last year in Stevie, Omar, and DJ," continued Burgess. "We will need those guys to have significant roles on this year's team in order for us to have a chance to be successful. We will also be counting on contributions from several newcomers like Shelby Parris, Levi Lamb, and Jakob Bergen. We have added a lot of new faces, so the competition for playing time is certainly there. It will be up to guys to determine where that shakes out."

So far this season the Tornados are 0-5 after falling 86-83 to Tusculum Tuesday night.

The Tornados have a week-long break until they get back on the court next Tuesday with an exhibition against UNC-Asheville.

The Tornados return to Boshamer Gymnasium next Wednesday against Warren Wilson with an 8 p.m. tipoff.


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