Carrollton, GA November 15, 2005 – With a tumultuous preseason behind them, the West Georgia Braves are set to begin a new basketball season. UWG lifts the lid on a new campaign Wednesday when they welcome Atlantas Carver Bible College to the HPE Building.
The Braves enter the new campaign after working through more than their share of adversity since practice opened in October. The biggest distraction was the absence of coach Ed Murphy, who underwent surgery on October 18 for the removal of a cancerous lesion on his lung.
Both the surgery and Murphys recovery, however, have gone very well. The veteran coach last week returned to office duties in the UWG Athletic Department, and has been at practice with his team the past few days.
Murphy says that he wont travel with his team to this weekends trip to the Delta State Classic and Mondays date at Henderson State. However, he says that he plans to resume full coaching duties beginning with next weekends All-Georgia Classic in Carrollton.
While this is West Georgias first official outing of the season, the Braves have seen plenty of outside competition. The Braves posted a 1-2 record in a trio of exhibition games vs. Division I opponents. They were victorious against Kennesaw State, but fell in a close games to Mississippi State and in double overtime at Jacksonville State.
West Georgia has but one starter and only two lettermen returning from last seasons 23-7, NCAA Tournament squad. Forward Chris Burras is a returning starter who averaged 6.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game a year ago. Antonio Shaw, last seasons sixth man, is back after averaging 7.6 points and 7.5 boards per game. One other familiar face returning is that of center Michael McCowan, a letterman two seasons ago but a medical redshirt last season.
A trio of newcomers has logged major minutes for the Braves during the three scrimmages. Wingmen Sam Richardson and Andrius Petkunas, both D-I transfers are joined by center Jake McCartney. Also, freshman point guard Adam Stanger and returning squad man Sheldon Harris will play key roles for UWG.
Following Wednesdays opener, the Braves take to the road for a trio of tough challenges. Friday and Saturday, UWG plays tough SIAC opponents Lane and Miles in the Delta State Classic in Cleveland, Miss. Monday’s opponent is perennial GSC West power Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Wednesdays game, and all games, can be heard on-line by following the link on the Braves website: www.uwgbraves.com.