Background Location: Salisbury, N.C. Enrollment: 1,300 Conference: South Atlantic (NCAA, Division II) Nickname: Indians Colors: Navy Blue & White Head Coach: Jim Baker (12th year) Career Record at CC: 203-114 Last Year: 23-7 (12-2, SAC)
Returning Starters: Brian Graves (6-2, 190, Jr.) - 12.5 ppg, 5.0 apg Ahmad Murphy (6-2, 180, Jr.) – 5.3 ppg, 2.3 apg Jolly Manning (6-4, 200, Sr.) – 7.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg Helgi Magnusson (6-6, 200, Sr.) – 14.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg Andy Thomson (6-9, 205, Sr.) – 6.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg Key Returnees: Jamel Hamilton (6-2, 180, So.) – 12.5 ppg Chris Wooldridge (6-6, 185, Jr.) – 9.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg Brian Frasier (6-0, 175, Sr.) – 2.8 ppg Jason Diggs (5-11, 170, So.) – 2.9 ppg, 1.0 apg Newcomers: Norman Monroe (6-6, 220, So.) Newport News, Va. Finnur Magnusson (6-9, 225, Fr.) Reykjavik, Iceland Darion Williams (6-5, 180, Fr.) Charlotte, N.C.
* All five starters return from last season's squad, as well as the top two reserves. Three of those returnees received all-conference honors last season. Helgi Magnusson was a first-team all-conference selection, while Brian Graves was named to the second team. Jamel Hamilton was an all-freshman team selection. All three last month were named to the preseason all-conference team - and the Indians are the preseason pick to repeat as conference champs.
* Helgi Magnusson is the team's top standout. After leading the team last season in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (6.8), he has been selected as a preseason All-American by Street & Smith Magazine. Magnusson has also played for the Iceland National Team.
* Jamel Hamilton, the sophomore guard, was the team's best three-point shooter a year ago, connected on 65 threes at a 39.4 percent clip. Floor leader Brian Graves is the leading defender (2.0 spg), while Jolly Manning, despite only being 6-4, led the Indians with 54 blocks last season.
* Head coach Jim Baker, entering his 12th season, was a Division I assistant at Virginia Tech (1989-91) and Davidson (1981-89). His ties to international camps and clinics has led to the presence of some talented foreign players on the roster.
* The Catawba community isn't treating this as just another exhibition game. Buses have been organized to take fans from Salisbury to Chapel Hill and there's even a t-shirt to celebrate the event (see at left).
* The Catawba basketball program has been in existence since 1926, with 1,106 total wins. In four of the last seven seasons, the Indians have been crowned the SAC Tournament champions and advanced to the NCAA Div. II Tournament regional.
(Thanks to SID Jim Lewis for his assistance and contributions to this preview.)