written by Edward Hill, Jr.
Washington, DC—November 8---The Howard University men's basketball team will kick off the 2012-13 season when it hosts Lincoln University on Saturday at 4 pm in Burr Gymnasium.
The Bison, who are coming off a 10-21 season, are looking to improve with the return of several key performers. Bison head coach Kevin Nickelberry has put together a blend of young players who had a season's experience under their belt as freshmen to go along with some proven upperclassmen in the program's quest to take things to another level.
Howard started five freshmen down the stretch last season and won six of its last nine games with that lineup.
Going into Saturday's matchup, Nickelberry has altered his thinking a bit and will start Calvin Thompson and Mike Phillips, both seniors along with junior center Alphonso Leary, sophomore guard Simuel Frazier and sophomore forward Prince Okoroh.
Thompson, a 6-3 red-shirt senior from New Orleans, La, battled injuries though most of the season but still managed almost 10 points per games, including several games down the stretch where scored key baskets or made plays that helped secure victories.
Phillips is a 6-7 senior forward from Fredricksburg, VA who averaged almost eight points per game and led the team in rebounding with 5.2 per game. He had a tremendous offseason and is in the best shape of his career.
Leary, a 6-10 junior from Norfolk, VA, averaged almost five points and five rebounds per game. He splits time with sophomores Oliver Ellison (5.3 ppg), a 6-8 sophomore from Washington, DC and Theodore Boyomo, a 6-9 red-shirt sophomore from Cameroon.
Frazier, a 5-11 sophomore from Norfolk, VA, came on strong last year and showed glimpses that he is going to be an outstanding point guard after averaging almost 10 points and four assists per game.
Okoroh, a 6-5 guard/forward from Greenbelt, MD, is being regarded as a future impact player for the Bison after averaging almost nine points and four rebounds per game while also emerging as a fine defensive player.
This is one of the deepest Bison teams in recent memory with returnees Anton Dickerson, Brandon Ford and Tre Lee. Dickerson is a 6-0 senior guard from Brooklyn, NY, who is the team's best outside shooter. Ford is a 6-3 sophomore guard from Largo, MD who showed marked progress throughout the season and Lee, a 6-3 junior from Hampton, VA, is a fine defender who can also score.
A member of the CIAA, Lincoln is coming off an 11-18 record and returns four of its five leading scorers. The Lions will be looking to forward Kenny Sharpe (12.3 ppg) and guards George Jackson (11.8 ppg), Justin Jackson (9.6 ppg) and Derrick Washington (7.6 ppg) to provide balance to the attack. Washington is a 6-0 junior guard who played locally at Calvin Coolidge High School while Justin Jackson is a transfer guard from Morgan State.
NEXT UP: The Bison travel to Iowa City, Iowa to play the University of Iowa on November 15 and then in Wichita, KS to take on Wichita State on November 17 in the opening round of the Cancun Classic.