With the 2019-2020 season opener against Campbell University on Tuesday, Nov. 5, just little under a month, Coach Ellis and the men of Coastal Carolina’s basketball team are looking to start off strong. An old rival from the Big South Conference, where the Chants competed until the 2016 season, Coach Ellis reminds us that it’s “always a dog fight.” Coming out with a win last year against the Fighting Camels, the CCU team hopes to maintain their successes.
Many familiar faces are returning to the court, including DeVante Jones (DJ), a standout from last year earning the title of “Freshman of the Year.” Though, out for 5 weeks on a broken foot, Jones hopes to make a quick recovery and return to the court as soon as possible. Tommy Burton, a senior forward and Isaac Hippolyte, a sophomore forward, are also returning for another season.
As for newcomers, there are many incoming Chanticleers waiting to see some Division 1 action. The most prominent newcomer is Keishawn Brewton, a junior transfer from Chipola Junior College.
“We think he is going to give us some great offense at the guard play,” said Ellis.
Timothy Caesar, a freshman from Arkansas, and Garrick Green, a transfer junior from Louisiana, are also waiting in anticipation for this season. Unfortunately, Levi Cook, a 6’10 junior transfer from West Virginia, also had high hopes, but he is currently sidelined for 8 weeks with a torn meniscus.
“He gives us something we haven’t had,” Ellis said about Cook, hopeful that the fans won’t be disappointed upon Cook’s return to the court. Three international players have joined the CCU squad, including Hosana Kitenge from England, Ahmard Harvey from the Bahamas, and Essam Mostafa from Cairo, Egypt.
The athletic edge that CCU coaches are anticipating for this season is also fueled by the returning athletes. The astounding 109-91 win over WVU in 2018 increased the pride for the team as a whole- an attitude Ellis hopes will carry over into this season.
New players are not the only additions to the team: Coach Elwyn McCroy, former recruiting coordinator from Washington State, is the newest addition to the coaching staff.
This season’s home schedule is ready, and the Chanticleer fan spirit is needed! According to Coach Ellis, “when there is a student that is watching the game and sees excitement and full seats, it makes them have more desire to be there” and game attendance provides the support the athletes need. The energy and hype floating through the walls of the gym will spread to everyone on and off the court. Transitioning into the Sun Belt conference from the Big South, it’s a goal to step it up this year and climb to the top, but CCU teams need Chanticleer spirit!
Ellis reminds students that “student body is the key” and by getting into the games for free, filling the stands to maximum capacity is the goal. Although many games are played over Christmas break and students may not be on campus, some games are televised on ESPN Plus, allowing students to tune in.