This item originally appeared in the Fall-2004 Bulldog Survival Guide issue of The Tech Talk.
By KYLE ROBERTS
The 2004-05 basketball season for the Lady Techsters and the Bulldogs is shaping up to be a good year for both teams, except in different ways.
The Lady Techsters are going to replace Trina Frierson, Amisha Carter and Amber Obaze, who combined for an average of 44.6 points a game.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, lost only one starter in JueMichael Young.
This means returning to the Bulldog lineup will be experienced players in seniors Donnell Alick, Corey Dean and Wayne Powell, and sophomore Paul Millsap, who averaged 15.6 points per game and led the nation in rebounding with 12.5 as a freshman.
Bulldog assistant coach Ryan Cross said he expects big things out of the returning players, as well as any newcomers.
"I think we've addressed some weaknesses on our team from last year," Cross said. "We've got the core of our team coming back, and we feel like the new signees will help improve our skill level as far as dribbling and passing as well as some better shooting for the team."
The Bulldogs are adding to their lineup this year guard Marcus Elliott from Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Niceville, Fla.; guard Daevon Haskins from South Plains Community College in Levelland, Texas; forward Michael Wilds from Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla.; guard Jason Bray from Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas; and guard Clarke Hale from Azle High School in Azle, Texas.
Cross said that he believes these guys bring improvement to an already solid team.
"We felt like we had some needs to address," Cross said. "We needed to add a couple of guards with good dribbling and passing. We signed Haskins as a point guard and Marcus Elliot as a combo guard to play a couple of different positions if needed. He's really a jack-of-all-trades with ball-handling and shooting."
Cross said that having Wilds at the post will also help with depth.
"It was good that we signed another post player," Cross said. "This is also a guy who can step out from below the basket and shoot the ball well."
Cross said that one of the things that hurt the Bulldogs last season was poor shooting and said he was excited about the good shooting of newcomers Bray and Hale.
"Bray is a very good shooter," Cross said. "We feel like he'll add great three-point shooting to the team. Hale also is a great shooter. He's a guy that will come through our program for four years and be an even better player in the future."
While the Bulldogs are only losing three players total, the Techsters are losing their top three starters and are looking for their new signees to come in and help in a conference that is "only getting better," assistant coach Katie Hall said.
"The Western Athletic Conference is becoming more competitive," Hall said. "With Frierson, Carter and Obaze gone we're expecting big things out of our returning players as well as new ones."
The Techsters are also going to be without starter Erica Smith-Taylor for the first part of the season who, along with her husband, Jermain, is expecting her first child.
Smith-Taylor averaged 13.8 points for Techsters in the 2003-04 season and had her two biggest games of the year in the first two rounds of the NCAA Women's National Championship Tournament against Texas Tech and Montana.
In hopes to fill the gaps, the Techsters have added guard Tosha Christmas from Proven High School in Jackson, Miss.; center Margaret DeCiman from Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan.; forward Tashia Combs from Midland Junior College in Midland, Texas; and center Tia Lawson from Dutchtown High School in Geismar, La.
"This is definitely going to be a more guard-oriented team," Hall said. "With the loss of Frierson and Carter, we're expecting our guards to step-up this coming year."
With the returning players and newcomers, Hall said the staff is excited about the 2004-05 season.
"This is definitely going to seem like a rebuilding year," Hall said. "Even so, we're staying positive and ready to compete. Both our conference and non-conference schedules are going to be great and we expect a good year."