The season starts tonight.
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In the inaugural Charleston Classic, Oliver Purnell wants the Tigers to continue to press, but knows it may not be entirely possible to sustain it throughout the game, as this is the first game without the senior defensive core from last year's team: Mays, Perry, and Hammonds.
The Tigers will open play against the Hofstra Pride, but I will refer to them by their god-give name and not their athletic-booster derived name, the Dutchmen, or if I'm feeling saucy, the Dutch.
In addition ot Hofstra being the site of the final presidential debate, the also host a basketball team.
The Tigers have played the Dutchmen a few times in the past, with the Tigers winning, but those games are irrelevant. This year's Dutch team features a Sr. forward, Arminas Urbutis, from the same Lithuanian town, Kaunas, as Clemson alum, Andrius Jurkunas, who started the Clemson-Lithuania pipeline that funneled Arturus Javtokas, Tomas Nagys, and current Tiger Karolis Petrokunis to Littlejohn. Hofstra features another Lithuanian, Zygis Sestokas, but the bulk of their team is from in and around NYC.
Last year, the Tigers and the Dutch both played Charlotte with differing results. The Tigers suffered a collapse after the gut-wrenching loss to Wayne Ellington and lost to Charlotte, 82-72. While, the Dutchmen defeated the 49ers just a few weeks before. However, they also lost to VT by 25, who the Tigers defeated by 1, 70-69 and lost to Old Dominion by 21, whom the Tigers beat by 13, 66-53. What Hofstra lost in Antoine Agudio, who graduated as the highest-scoring Dutchman-of-all-time, is what they will be trying to find behind Charles Jenkins, the CAA rookie of the year last year.
The Probable Starting Dutchmen:
G #20 Greg Johnson (6-0,190) - 3.7 PPG, 3.5 APG
G #22 Charles Jenkins (6-3,220) - 15.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG
G #1 Nathaniel Lester (6-5,200) - 6.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG
F #21 Darren Townes (6-7,220) - 8.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG
F #50 Dane Johnson (6-10,265) - 6.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG
The Probable Starting Tigers:
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 8.8 PPG, 3.0 APG
G #22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2,190) - 10.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG
C #12 Raymond Sykes (6-9,220) - 4.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG
F #1 K.C. Rivers (6-5,215) - 14.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 11.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG
Tonight's game will be an experiment and a test. This is KC's first game as team captain. OP will be trying to see how his team responds and adjusts to their 08-09 roster, and Milton Jennings will hopefully get to see his future teammates in action, as he is from nearby Summerville, SC.
The Dutch will be looking to play quick, light, and loose. The Tigers will press as long as they can be successful and rely - yes, rely - on their improved FT%, or at least their perceived FT% improvement. For all that last year's seniors gave to the team, they also pulled us down in that critical category.
Hofstra News Release