BOONE, N.C. — The 2018-19 Appalachian State men’s basketball season, presented by AutoStar Nissan, officially started on Wednesday with the first official practice.
The practice featured work in multiple areas on offense and defense. From the start, the Mountaineers brought the energy and intensity to mark the beginning of a new season. Over the course of the next several weeks, App State will continue to put in work ahead of a exhibition against Ferrum on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Holmes Center, before tipping the season with a home contest on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. versus Mars Hill.
HEAD COACH JIM FOX ON THE UPCOMING SEASON
“This is a team that is good enough to compete for a league title. We need to continue to improve each day. I’m excited about going through these next couple months, especially this next month where we are practicing and getting better, while working towards a conference title”
SENIOR GUARD RONSHAD SHABAZZ ON THE UPCOMING SEASON
“I and the rest of the team are taking it one day at a time. For me, today was a successful day. We got through our first practice and we will be right back out here tomorrow. As long as we get better everyday and not take these practices for granted, this could be one amazing season.”
Appalachian State welcomes back a total of 13 players from last season’s squad. Ronshad Shabazz notched his second straight All-Sun Belt honor after averaging a team-high 18.5 points and dishing out a team-best 100 assists. He became just the fifth player in program history to score over 600 points and became the first Mountaineer to post 100 or more assists in a season since the 2010-11 campaign. Justin Forrest and Isaac Johnson also return for the Mountaineers. Forrest had a solid freshman season, averaging 13.5 points and posting a team-best 42 steals. Isaac Johnson led the team and ranked fourth in the Sun Belt in rebounding at 8.4 rpg. Tyrell Johnson saw action in all 33 contests last season and led the team in blocks with 38. The Black and Gold return plenty of depth across the board in Bennett Holley, Nick Hough, Kevin Kerley, O’Showen Williams, Jake Wilson, Trey Ford and Hunter Seacat. In addition, Joseph Battle and Michael Bibby will be eligible after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
The Mountaineers also welcome three new members to the program in Adrian Delph, Breki Gylfason and James Lewis. Delph was a standout at Kings Mountain High School in Kings Mountain, N.C., where he averaged 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.7 steals as a senior, on his way to NCBCA District 10 Boys Player of the Year. Gylfason hails from Reykjavik, Iceland and most recently played for Haukar Hafnarfjordur in the Dominos League in Iceland, where he averaged 7.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18.1 minutes. Lewis joins App State as a transfer from UT Chattanooga, where he appeared in 27 games and averaged 7.3 points on 50.8 percent shooting and 5.4 rebounds. He will sit out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
The Mountaineers will continue practices through October in preparation for the start of the season. The Black and Gold will welcome Ferrum to the Holmes Center for an exhibition on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and officially tip the season on Nov. 6 against Mars Hill at 7 p.m. in Boone.