Previewing NC Central

After three weeks of practice, the Tar Heels now get to face someone other than themselves, as nearby Div. II North Carolina Central University visits the Dean E. Smith Center for a Saturday exhibition. Tip-off is schedule for 90 minutes after the conclusion of the UNC-Wake Forest football game -- approximately 4:45 p.m.

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

   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

David Young
Pregame Notes

* 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.

Curtis Knight

David Young

James Tucker

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