On Sept. 28, the 2017-2018 Coastal Carolina men’s basketball schedule was released, giving fans their first look at the tough competition the team would be facing in the new season.
Head Coach Cliff Ellis gave his thoughts on the schedule.
“Our schedule is extremely tough,” said Ellis. “After we take an extended trip to Texas, we are going to play a tournament in the Bahamas. That is going to be a tremendous test for us. We have some exciting home matchups when we get back.”
The biggest matchup is the Chanticleers' date with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, which will be played on Dec. 18 in the HTC Center.
“Without question, that is a huge matchup for us,” said Ellis. “That is the highlight of our schedule.”
The team will look very different this year after losing some talented players from last season, the biggest being Elijah Wilson. Wilson finished his career in third place on the Coastal Carolina all-time leading scorer’s list.
“We didn’t just lose Elijah, we lost some important pieces to our team,” said Ellis. “Elijah did provide us scoring, but Shivaughn Wiggins was an incredible point guard. You had Colton Ray-St. Cyr with his defense and Michel Enanga coming off the bench. Those are pieces you can’t replace. We have to move forward.”
There is only a week-long break between the Chanticleers final non-conference game, and their conference opener against Texas-Arlington on Dec. 29 at the HTC Center.
After being in the Sun Belt Conference for a year now, Ellis talked about what it is like to compete in this new conference.
“Our conference schedule is two and a half months of rigorous travel,” said Ellis. “It will be a challenge but overall, it is a pretty tremendous schedule.”
There are several new faces this year for fans to get to know. There are five new members of the team suiting up for the Chanticleers in the new season.
Matt Lindsay, a native of North Myrtle Beach, is one of those five new faces, and Ellis had nothing but praise for the junior.
“[Lindsay] is a very pleasant surprise,” said Ellis. “He is a walk-on and is just tremendous. He has a really high basketball IQ, and he is showing he belongs here.”
While there are five new players, Trevion Brown is the only freshman on the roster. Coastal did have some talented freshman coming in this season, but because they did not meet Coastal's academic requirements, they couldn't play.
Ellis elaborated on that situation.
“We had several guys that basically did not get admitted to school,” said Ellis. “They were NCAA eligible, but not Coastal eligible. It is what it is, and we will move forward.”
Coastal opens the season against Piedmont International on Nov. 10. With a win against Piedmont, it will be Cliff Ellis’ 200th-career win here at Coastal.
Ellis talked about what that type of milestone means to him.
“To me, it has always been about the players,” said Ellis. “Whenever I am asked a question about wins, I will go and say that is really about the players. It has always been about the players because they were the ones out there on the court and getting the wins.”
Coach Ellis is the winningest coach in the state of South Carolina. In his time at Clemson, Ellis went 177-128 and, here at Coastal, Ellis has gone 199-129, putting him at 376-257 overall as a coach in the state of South Carolina.
The team hopes to be making a fifth straight postseason, and their seventh postseason appearance in eight seasons.
The team opens up their season on Nov. 10, but fans can meet them at HOOPLA 2017, which will be Thursday, Oct. 26.
The time for HOOPLA has yet to be announced.