WILMINGTON — Cape Fear Community College Men’s Basketball is no stranger to national attention with 15 national tournament appearances under its belt. Moving into the 2016-17 season, the Sea Devils are once again poised to make a move within the Region X Conference after receiving preseason praise in a pair of junior college basketball polls.
The Sporting News Division I junior college poll has Cape Fear ranked at No. 7 in the nation, while the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I listing puts the Sea Devils at No. 18.
“It’s great to be recognized now, but we must prove we are as good as others think,” said Cape Fear Men’s Basketball Coach Ryan Mantlo. I’m excited to start this journey with this group.”
While the Sea Devils will only return one of their top five scorers from last season, Cape Fear will rely on several returning sophomores, experienced transfers, and freshmen signees to lead the team in production.
Alonzo Tyson, the team’s lone returnee, ranked in the top five of scoring last season at 12.9 points per game, will look to have another strong season with Cape Fear.
“We have a lot of new faces but the new guys came in hungry to win,” Tyson said. “There is such a strong family atmosphere with this group and I am excited to be playing alongside them.”
Sophomores DeVarte Watson, and Tai-He Jeter look to be big contributors to the team’s alongside sophomore transfers Zaqwaun Matthews (UT-Chattanooga), Trae Bryant (UNC-Asheville), and Jacque Brown (University of Mount Olive).
Bryant returns to his hometown in Wilmington after 22 appearances as a freshman for UNC-Asheville. He gained a ton of experience in his first season on a Bulldogs team that earned a spot in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, falling in a first-round match-up against the eventual national champion, Villanova Wildcats. Bryant played two years of varsity basketball at Hoggard High School, where he finished with 899 career points (17.0 points per game), 101 made three pointers (1.9 per game), 281 assists (5.3 assists per game), and 241 rebounds (4.5 rebounds per game).
As a senior, he appeared in 29 games, averaging 17.4 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game, and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 45% from the field, 31% on three pointers, and 80% from the free throw line.
Cape Fear plays a round-robin style tournament at the Schwartz Center in downtown Wilmington on Nov. 11-12. Details on the Sea Devils 2016-17 schedule can be found at www.goseadevils.com.