Men's Hoops Preview: Trojans Led By Dynamic Duo

ANDERSON, S.C. -- With four starters returning from last year’s team that tied for the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference regular-season championship, expectations are higher than ever for the Anderson College men’s basketball team. “There are a number of people in the program who have demonstrated that what we do works,” said AC head coach Doug Novak. “It’s everything from work ethic to the way we want to play basketball. We’ve been very fortunate in the last three years to beat some good teams. I think we can build on that success with the way we’ve performed. “We had a good team last year. We want to go from good to great.” The Trojans, 18-10 overall last season, boast one of the most potent scoring duos in Division II – seniors Robbie Seabrook (17.4 points per game) and Donielle Davis (17.2 points per game). Seabrook and Davis combined for 968 points last season. “Robbie and Donielle are the best duo I have ever coached,” Novak said. “I’m sure people will focus on those two wings because they’re outstanding, but they’re outstanding on both ends of the court. They both can defend, they both can shoot, and they both can drive. That’s a lethal combination.” Novak enters his fourth season at AC. In the last two seasons, he has led the Trojans to 33 victories and two straight winning seasons. “We’ve never said we want to win the league,” Novak said. “We’ve just said we want to have a championship program. We’ve said we want to be the best at what we do. We play a unique style. We want to be the best flare screening team in the league, and we want to be the best zone team in the league. That’s the focus.” Seabrook, who started just one game last season made a school-record 81 3-point goals last season. He also shot 84 percent (103-122) from the free throw line. Seabrook’s average playing time was just 25.4 minutes per game. “Through individual skill development, Robbie is now able to see everything with his own eyes instead of my eyes,” Novak said. “It has really opened up his game.” Davis, a transfer from Mars Hill, averaged 30 minutes per game in his first season with the Trojans. He led the team in 3-point shooting percentage at 41 percent (44-106). “Donielle is going to have a breakout year,” Novak said. “He was good last year, but I had to beg him to shoot the ball. He’s very concerned about playing with others.” The other two returning starters are junior Joel C. Zimmerman (10.2 points per game) and senior Tim Thomas (5.6 points per game). This season, Thomas will be joined inside by sophomore Osvaldo Haynes, who moves up from the junior varsity team. “I’ve been very impressed by our inside play with Tim and Osvaldo,” Novak said. “We’ve got an inside presence. We will utilize the inside game more than we did last year. Last year, we were perimeter oriented because that was our strength. The perimeter still will be our strength this season.” AC lost just one starter but it was a big loss. Four-year starter and Anderson native Clay Huggins left as the school’s all-time leader in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and minutes played. Last season’s 18 victories was a record for the four-year program. After starting 4-7, the Trojans put together a nine-game winning streak and they won all 10 of the their CVAC home games to earn a tie for the regular-season championship. “On our team, everybody gets to touch the basketball and everybody is a part of it,” Novak said. “We’re all in this thing together. It’s not my show. It’s their show. It’s Anderson College.” The 2002-2003 schedule features road games at Charleston Southern and Presbyterian, home games against North Greenville, a bitter rival during AC's junior college days, 10 CVAC foes, and a late December trip to Novak’s home state of South Dakota to face Division II powers Michigan Tech and South Dakota State. Novak is a native of Brandon, S.D. “Some of my coaching friends say I schedule with my heart and not my head,” Novak said. “It just happened that the South Dakota Tournament opened up. Where else are we going to be able to play in front of 7,000 people? We might take some knocks, but I have to think that it will help us get ready for the top teams in the conference.” The Trojans open the season Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Charleston Southern.
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