Dover, Del. (Nov. 5, 2018) --- The Delaware State men’s basketball team, under new head coach Eric Skeeters, tips-off the 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday (Nov. 6) at East Carolina. Game time is set for 7:45 p.m. in Greenville, N.C.
This is the first collegiate head coach job for Skeeters, a veteran Division I assistant who helped lead Maryland-Baltimore County to an upset Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, becoming the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in the history of the Big Dance. He was also on the Coppin State staff when the 15th seeded Eagles upset No. 2 South Carolina in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, in addition to serving as an assistant at South Florida, Virginia Tech, Towson and Youngstown State.
Skeeters takes over a Delaware State program looking to improve on a 4-27 overall record during the 2017-18 season. The Hornets were 2-14 and last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic conference regular season race last year.
Delaware State has to replace four of its top five scorers from last season. Guard Kobe Gantz, who was leading the team with a 13.5 point-per-game average before a season-ending knee injury last season will sit out the 2018-19 campaign to continue his recovery.
The Hornets’ top returning scorer is point guard Pinky Wiley (so.), who competed in all 32 games as a true freshman last season. Wiley was tops on the Hornets and 14th in the MEAC in assists at 2.8 per game (90 total). In addition, he was DSU’s leader and fifth in the conference in steals at 1.5 per game (48 total). Wiley was fifth on the Hornets in scoring at 8.5 points per game, reaching double-figures in 12 contests. He was also second on the squad with 40 three-point field goals (40-for-131; .305 pct.).
The Hornets are hoping for a full season from swingman Jonathan Mitchell (jr.), who averaged 7.0 points in eight games during an injury-plagued 2017-18 campaign.
Forward/center Ameer Bennett (so.) is expected to play a bigger role after averaging 3.0 points in nearly 11 minutes per game last season.
Shooting guard Saleik Edwards (sr.) also returns after limited duty (2.0 ppg; 7.9 min. per game) during the 2017-18 campaign.
The Hornets also welcome former Delaware high school star Kevin Larkin (sr.) to the team this season. Larkin was a two-time All-Henlopen Conference selection at Sussex Tech in Georgetown, Del., before starting his college career at Cheyney and two seasons at Canisius (N.Y.).
Delaware State is visiting East Carolina for the second straight season. The Pirates won last year’s meeting 63-57.
The Hornets will play their 2018-19 home opener on Nov. 19 against the College of St. Elizabeth at 7:00 p.m.