Elon University is another one of those small schools that dot the North Carolina landscape along the I-85/I-40 corridor. If you needed to get there, you'd head out from Raleigh down I-40 and when you got to Burlington, NC you'd be there.The Coach
The Phoenix are 4-1, their game with North Carolina A & T was snow/iced out - This year they've beaten UNC Greensboro, Bluefield College, St. Mary's, and UMES.
You don't want to sell the program short by looking at their record - Last year they had a road trip where they played Wake Forest, FSU and Indiana. This year they play Wake again, and Marquette and Georgia Tech along with the rest of the Big South Conference.
Last time out, they had to come from behind in a game where they dominated the rebounding 49-27. They had 19 offensive rebounds. This was a game where two of their Senior starters didn't play and the Explanation is that Injuries have decimated the Phoenix.
They can also hit 3 pointers - they've had one game where they got 2 out of 3.
Elon lists only 2 Centers on their squad, but appear to come out in a 2 Forward/3 Guard set. Their Forwards appear to be the major scorers. The Phoenix won't impress you with their size - only 2 players are listed over 6-8, their starters averaged under 6-6.
Mark Simmons, with his lifetime record 192-256 is in his 10th year as the head coach at Elon. In his defense, he's been guiding the Phoenix's transition to Div I. Last year he took the Phoenix to the Big South Conference semi-finals. Last year, his team led the Big South in offensive rebounds (14.34) and steals (8.93 per game).The Starters
The other statistic that is impressive is his 9 year 100% graduation rate among basketball players, probably the best in North Carolina Div I!
Elon has been starting 2 Forwards and 3 Guards. In a change, Coach Simmons started a young lineup against UNC-G - The 2 Forwards were:  Rasmi Gamble [Fr 6-9 ] and  Gary Marsh [So 6-6].The Big Guns
The 3 Guards:  Scottie Rice [Fr 6-4],  Carlos Moreira [Jr 6-3] and  Steven Harvin. [So 5-11]
Rice [Elon Photo - right] and Moreira have started all 5 games, and 7 different players have started for the Phoenix. Senior Guard Ross Sims [Sr 6-1] and previous rebound leader, Forward Shamar Johnson [Sr 6-5] had started the previous 4 games but they didn't play against UNC-G.
The Scoring leader is Soph Forward Gary Marsh, [Elon Photo-left] with an 11.6 ppg average. He was the star in their last game, dropping a layup with 4.1 secs to beat UNC-G 58-57.The Rest of the Team
6-9 Forward Rasmi Gamble [right] was honored as the Big South Freshman of the Week for his play last week. He leads the Phoenix in Rebounds with 29.
Freshman Point Guard Scottie Rice is the 3 Point expert - he's 10 for 20 outside the arc - and he's the leader in steals, with 13. He's also been a Freshman of the Week for the Phoenix.
Coach Simmons has played 13 of his 16 roster players so far this season, as he worked out his starting lineup. One of the returning starters, Senior Christopher Adams [6-6] has yet to see action, last year's All Rookie Team Center, 6-6 Soph Jackson Atoyebi has played a total of 12 minutes in only one game.So the Big Question is...
Off the Bench, Elon plays 6-5 Soph G/F Sean Newton [#21], 6-6 Jr F Matt Backs  and 6-5 Sr F Quinton McCleon [#23]. 6-7 Jr F Cameron Kirby [#33], and 6-1 Fr G Leo DelCalvo [#40] have also seen game action this year.
As a team, the Phoenix shoot .463 from the floor, .340 from the arc and average just under 68 points a game.
Injuries are why the 2 seniors [Johnson (right) and Sims] sat out last week. Johnson was averaging 9.8 ppg and 6.2 rbg, Sims was shooting 6.2 ppg. Sims will be available for play tonight. Johnson has a stress fracture in his foot and will not.For the Wildcats
Guard Ross Sims and Forward Shamar Johnson are prominently mentioned in the Elon Media Guide. If they play tonight, they add a lot of experience to the Phoenix.
- Everyone has to come out and shake off the cobwebs of a 10 day break.
- Jitim Young has to get back into his game. He was making the rebounds against BGSU, but he needs his shot back.
- Winston Blake should be back to near 100% after 10 days rest.
- Aaron Jennings should come out and dominate the middle.
- One of the Other Frosh [Evan Seacat, Mohamed Hachad] needs to have a breakout game.