BRISTOL, Tenn. – King College Men's Basketball is set to begin the 2012-13 campaign on the road at Virginia Union University. The Tornado will open play against the Panthers in Barco-Stevens Hall on Saturday at 2 p.m. Coverage of the season opener will be provided by clicking here.
After participating in three exhibition contests, the Tornado are warmed up and ready to open a brand new season. King will open the 2012-13 slate on the road in Richmond, Va. to play the Virginia Union Panthers (0-0). The Panthers are playing in their season opening game, as well.
King will be led by team captain and leading scorer from 2011-12, Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.). The senior guard averaged 16.5 points per game last year and had a career contest against Lincoln Memorial in their NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament game. The All-Conference Second Team selection went off for a career-high 32 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 6-of-8 from behind the arc.
Joining him will be the reigning Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, forward Logan Lyle. Last season as a freshman, the Unicoi, Tenn. native averaged 13.5 points per game and led the team with 88 three-point buckets, hitting 40.2 percent of his long-range attempts. He was the third Tornado player to eclipse 400 points last season and the second of the returners.
Junior Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) was an asset for the Tornado both off the bench and as a starter as he played both roles in their championship season. Fortune was also a three-point threat, hitting 72-of-171 attempts for the highest success rate among the team at 42.1 percent.
Although not new to the program, senior Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) returns after a redshirt year and will provide a powerful spark on both ends of the court. A forward with good strength and excellent shooting range, Seymore will help replace some of the offense lost due to graduation a season ago. Adding to the long-range attack will be redshirt freshman Nathanael Hughes (Elizabethton, Tenn./Hampton H.S.), who will provide yet another three-point threat off of the bench.
King will be relying on the success of a host of highly touted freshmen this year, beginning with Drew Standifer (Knoxville, Tenn./Bearden H.S.) who will likely be playing the five. At 6-6, 200 pounds, Standifer is a natural athlete whose brute strength in the post will be difficult to combat. Guard Aaron Wheeler (Morristown, Tenn/Morristown East H.S.) will see significant playing time off the bench with his sweet stroke and wide range accompanying aggressiveness toward the basket that makes him dangerous from all areas of the floor. Malcolm St. Louis (Lebanon, Tenn./Wilson Central H.S.) has incredible size that can be moved around the floor in a variety of positions and has both strong offensive and defensive skills that make him valuable on both sides of the floor.
Reigning Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year George Pitts will begin his seventh season with the Tornado, taking with him an overall collegiate record of 138-56 into the season opener, Saturday. Interim assistant coach and recently promoted Associate Head Coach Nick Pasqua join Pitts on the bench to help lead the team.
Coverage of Saturday's game will be provided, including live stats and audio/video coverage. Click here to access vuusports.com. Coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the tipoff set for 2 p.m. in Barco-Stevens Hall (Richmond, Va.).
Previously, Virginia Union fell to local Division I institution Virginia Commonwealth University by a score of 94-44 in their season opener on Nov. 1. Calvin Brown led VUU with 14 points and was complimented by Damion Harris' 11 points and six rebounds.
King will open their home slate on Wednesday, Nov. 14 against regional foe Tusculum College. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from inside the Student Center Complex.