Dover, Del. (Nov. 10, 2017) --- The Delaware State men’s basketball team opens the 2017-18 season at home against Cairn Friday evening. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
The Hornets return four regulars from last year’s squad, led by senior forward Kavon Waller, a Preseason All-MEAC Third Team selection. Waller was fourth on the Hornets in scoring at 10.0 points per game, while ranking third in the MEAC in three-point field goal percentage (.415) and ninth in the league at 2.3 three-pointers per game (73 total) as a junior during the 2016-17 season. He tied the team record with eight three-pointers (8-for-9) during a career-best 26-point performance in the Hornets’ 92-69 victory over Keystone last season.
Seniors Artem Tavakalyan and Joseph Lewis , along with junior center Demola Onifade and sophomore guard Kobe Gantz are other returning players expected to play bigger roles after logging significant minutes last season.
Tavakalyan is expected to move into the starting line-up after averaging 6.1 points and ranking fifth on the Hornets with 21 three-point field goals as a junior during the 2016-17 season.
Onifade, a junior, led the Hornets and was among the MEAC leaders with 29 blocks , while Gantz showed flashes of brilliance as a true freshman last season.
Among the Hornets’ 2017-18 newcomers is 6-10 center Simon Okolue (Laguna Niguel, Cal.), a transfer from Northwest Fla. College who is expected to a provide physical presence in the post this season.
Freshman point guard Pinky Wiley brings solid credentials as a playmaker and winner as a standout at Chesterfield, Va., High School.
Newcomers Ameer Bennett (Richmond, Va.), Daivon Gamble (Charlotte, N.C.) and Marquis Collins (Chester, Pa.) will bring depth to the forward position, while Jonathan Mitchell (Waterbury, Conn.), Matthew Stevenson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Myles Carter (Phila., Pa.) will compete for playing time at guard.
Cairn, a NCAA Division III school, was 7-18 overall last season.
After its opener, Delaware State will hit the road for the next four games. The Hornets will return home on Nov. 25 against Georgian Court.