Samford’s basketball season is already snake-bit — literally.
Sophomore guard Will Cook spent two nights in intensive care after suffering a copperhead bite after stepping outside his dorm about three weeks ago.
“We’d had some heavy rains, and behind our dorm area there’s a creek, and it got swollen for a week,” coach Jimmy Tillette said. “[Cook] was walking by the dorm and startled it, and it got him on the foot.
“He’s OK. The more problematic situation is our point guard.”
Tillette expected junior Gregg Wooten to be in that role, but he will miss the season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. That leaves true freshmen Devin McNeil and Raijon Kelly as the top options.
“Talk about sleepless nights, wow,” Tillette said Wednesday during the preseason SoCon teleconference. “They’re neck and neck to start right now.”
Young guys older
Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young had one of the youngest teams in Division I basketball last year with guard Willie Powers out because of a knee injury.
Powers is back and is paired up with Ben Drayton to lead a team that scored 97 points and had eight turnovers in an exhibition game.
“That’s foreign territory for us,” Young said. “We turned it over eight times a minute last year. It’s such a tremendous difference.”
The Eagles went 5-27 last year with two Division I wins and one in the SoCon.
“It was the blind leading the blind,” Young said. “When Ray Charles asks for directions, he doesn’t ask Stevie Wonder.”
Cremins eyes cash
College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins is all in favor of SoCon basketball schools providing players with a $2,000 stipend if other conferences go the same route.
Yet he is realistic about making it work in a one-bid league.
“We all know the power conferences get the TV money and the SoCon doesn’t have that luxury,” Cremins said. “We have to keep up with the Joneses if we want to compete with them. Schools from our conference and like our conference are a big part of March Madness.”
Curry on campus
With the NBA on hold, Golden State guard Stephen Curry is back on the Davidson campus taking classes to finish his degree and help the current Wildcats a bit.
“Any time you have a model of excellence around your players, it’s something to point to,” coach Bob McKillop said. “He’s lending a voice of support giving some technical advice. When Stephen speaks, the players listen.”
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...