The Stetson men's basketball team, which saw many improvements in Head Coach Casey Alexander's first year at the helm last season, returns all five starters for the upcoming 2012-13 campaign. With a wealth of veteran leadership, a year under the new coaching staff's belt, a total of 10 student-athletes with Division I experience, and four promising freshmen, the Hatters are in good shape as the start of the season looms.
Last season Stetson finished with its best record since 2008-09, but the team narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament due to a tie-breaker. Stetson's 6-12 league mark was also the best since 08-09, when the Hatters went 9-11 and were the seven seed in the A-Sun Tournament.
The 2011-12 Hatters improved their scoring output by 7.9 points, their shooting percentage by 14 percentage points, and their three-point shooting by a staggering 46 percentage points (.343) from the previous season. Stetson also made improvements in free throw percentage (.620 to .695), assists per game (9.5 to 15), and rebounds (33.1 to 36.5).
Led statistically by senior Adam Pegg, who was the first All-Atlantic Sun performer since Garfield Blair in 2009, the Hatters will lean on the leadership of eight upperclassmen in 2012-13. Pegg was named second team all-conference in his first season at Stetson after transferring from the University of Delaware. The 6'9" center led the Hatters with 14.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Joel Naburgs and Liam McInerney, both starters from a year ago, give Stetson a pair of seniors from Australia who have been in DeLand since their freshman years. Naburgs is a 6'3" guard who averaged 9.2 points and led the team with 2.6 assists per game in 2011-12. McInerney, meanwhile, continued to do a little bit of everything for the Hatters in 2011-12, finishing in the top six on the team in almost every statistical category.
Chris Perez and Aaron Graham, both starters as sophomores a year ago, will look to help lead the team as upperclassmen this season. Perez was second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 13.5 per tilt, and added 4.5 rebounds per game from the guard position. Graham can light it up from deep, knocking down 68 three-pointers as a sophomore.
Senior J.R. Weston, juniors Willie Green and Hunter Miller, and sophomore Dennis Diaz give the Hatters plenty of experience for the upcoming season. Sophomore transfer from Oakland, seven-footer Kyle Sikora, will complement freshmen Logan Irwin, Brian Pegg - brother of Adam, Tanner Plemmons, and Leke Solanke to form a promising group of newcomers for Stetson.
With four scheduled televised games this season, and every Atlantic Sun Conference contest aired for free on ASun.TV, the 2012-13 Hatters will certainly be on display for their fans. Competitive in-state contests, including on the road at Miami and UCF, and at home against USF, as well as a couple of Virginia road trips to Richmond and VCU, highlight Stetson's non-conference slate.
The Hatters will be on the road at Mercer and Kennesaw State to open conference play around the first of the year. Lipscomb will come to town on January 19 for a doubleheader on ESPN3, a pair of games against Florida Gulf Coast will be aired on CSS (away Jan. 25, home Feb. 22), and it all tips off on November 9 when Stetson travels to Miami to take on the Hurricanes at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN3.