2001-2002 Bulldog Basketball Season Outlook
The Bulldogs come into this season with some high expectations as they look to remain one of the top teams in the nation. Union has added seven new faces to the roster to help replace the loss of two starters from last season’s squad. Replacing a first team All-American in Anthony Brooks and his 24 points per game average will be a difficult task, and one that will have to be done by more than one player. Several of the Bulldogs have the ability to dominate a game and it will take a season long effort for this team to realize their full potential.
Returning from last season’s starting lineup will be junior guard Zach Wiggs, sophomore guard Chima Abakwue, and sophomore forward Will Harris. Wiggs, who started every game last season, led the Bulldogs in assists (191) and steals (66). As a freshman, Abakwue started 29 games and led the TranSouth Conference with 86 three pointers made. Harris finished second behind Wiggs in assists and steals and will be Union’s top returning free throw shooter.
Also returning for the Bulldogs will be junior guards Michael Katrosh and Jake Eaton, along with sophomore guard Jonathan Kee. These three will add tremendous three point shooting, as well as, providing stability at the point guard position. Red-shirt senior Robert Joseph will play his first and only season this year for the Bulldogs. Joseph is a leader who will have an immediate impact with his ability to score and block shots.
Union has four transfers joining the squad this season. Matt Noah, a 6-8 junior from Northwest Shoals Community College, and Derrick Underwood, a 6-6 junior from Bevill State Community College will add size and athleticism at the forward position. Sophomore transfer from Emory & Henry College, Andrew Gamble will also add depth to the forward position. Mike Simpson, a 6-4 point guard joins Union from cross-town opponent Lambuth University. Simpson will bring great ball handling skills to the guard position. Joining the Bulldogs as a walk-on senior, Brian Johnson will add his good shooting and ball handling ability at the guard position. Coach Ralph Turner also has two incoming freshmen with Bruno Martinessi of Paraguay and Serge Nkoudjo of Cameroon. Martinessi, a 6-6 guard, will bring great size and skill to the guard position and will be called on to play a lot of minutes this season. Nkoudjo, a 6-7 240-lb. post, brings needed depth to the Bulldogs front court.
This season’s team is one of the most athletic Bulldog squads in recent years. Coach Turner looks to mold this talent into a team that can win the TranSouth Conference title, along with competing in their fifth consecutive NAIA National Tournament in Kanas City, MO.