Background Location: Durham, N.C. Enrollment: 7,191 Conference: C.I.A.A. (NCAA, Division II) Nickname: Eagles Colors: Maroon & Gray Head Coach: Phil Spence Record at NCCU: 33-51 (3 years) Last Year: 16-13 (10-6, C.I.A.A. Western Division Champs)
Returning Starters: Curtis Knight (6-3, 180, Jr.) – 11.0 ppg, 3.6 apg Other Returners: James Tucker (6-0, 175, Sr.) - 7.3 ppg, 2.2 apg Jermond Debro (6-7, 215, Sr.) - 5.9 ppg, 3.2 apg Surrell Evans (6-6, 180, So.) - 2.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg Newcomers: David Young (6-5, 200 Sr.) New Castle, Penn./Xavier Univ. Markael Brace (6-2, 195, Jr.) Albany, N.Y./Hudson Valley C.C. Jason Hervey (6-9, 255, So.) Arlington, Texas/Missouri Valley Brandon Bowman (6-8, 215, Jr.) Winston-Salem, N.C./S.C. State Steve Randolph (6-0, 160, Fr.) Spring Lake, N.C. Armand Wilson (6-7, 210, So.) St. Louis, Mo./Mobley CC
* The Eagles' 2002-03 campaign came to a disappointing halt in the CIAA championship semifinals. But a 16-13 record, and a CIAA Western Division championship was certainly viewed as a success -- it was NCCU's first winning season in four years. Fifteen seasons ago, the Eagles won the NCAA Division II national championship.
* Losing four starters from a year ago, most notably guard Shawn Ray (18.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.3 spg), will be difficult to overcome. The top returning scorer (9.6 ppg) is 6-3 junior guard Curtis Knight, who has been selected to the preseason All-CIAA Team.
* There are four returning players and six new faces, with perhaps the most intriguing newcomer being David Young, a 6-5 senior. Young attended Xavier University, before leaving the team midway through last season when his minutes and numbers dwindled (5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg). As a junior at Xavier, he started all 30 games and averaged 8.0 ppg and 3.6 rpg for the 26-6 Muskateers.
* Head coach Phil Spence earned CIAA coach of the year honors a year ago. The N.C. State grad, who scored 986 points from 1973-76 for the Wolfpack, joined the NCCU program after two decades coaching in the high schools ranks at Cary (N.C.) High and then Raleigh (N.C.) East Wake.