Coastal opens new season, arena with eight fresh faces

The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team has a new arena to call home this season. It also has a lot of new talent, leaving the Chanticleers with many question marks heading into Friday night’s 2012-13 season opener.

In addition to CCU fans seeing their first game inside the new 4,200-seat HTC Center against MAC power Akron, they also will see eight new faces suiting up for the Chants this season – seven freshman and a JUCO transfer.

But it’s not a complete rebuilding year for the Chants, who have won two regular season Big South Conference championships and been to three-straight postseason tournaments.

The Chants return four seniors, including veteran guards Anthony Raffa and Kierre Greenwood, who were both selected to the Preseason All-Big South Conference teams.

But they will be looking to fill some vacancies in the post. CCU has 6-foot-10 senior transfer El Hadji Ndiequene and five freshmen who will be looking to fill that void.

“I like this freshmen class. I like this team,” said CCU coach Cliff Ellis. “We are kind of in a rebuilding mode on the front line. We have backcourt experience in Raffa and Greenwood, two guys that were predicted to be all-conference.”

Joining Raffa and Greenwood in the backcourt are returners sophomore Warren Gillis and senior Charles Ashford. Richie Berry and Tre’von James will add depth to the backcourt while freshman Ron Trapps will spend his freshman season recovering from an injury.

Senior Bisi Addey is the lone veteran in the post while Ndieguene is the only other big man with any college experience. Freshmen Michel Enanga, Uros Ljeskovic, Badou Diagne and Tristian Curtis join the team with hopes of early playing time in the paint.

“We have four seniors with a lot of experience and we are ready to help these young guys out,” said Raffa. “I have never been on a team with seven freshmen. We just need to come together and support them the whole way. They are young and don’t have a lot of college experience but we have some veteran guys that can help push them through.”

Coastal will open the HTC Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Single game tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling the CCU Ticket Office at 843-347-8499 or by going to GoCCUSports.com.

Every game this season the doors to The HTC Center will open up one hour prior to game time. Spectators have a number of parking options located on Chanticleer Drive while the lot directly adjacent to The HTC Center will be a donor restricted lot (see map). Another parking option is the Elvington lot which is located just off of 544 behind the Ace University Bookstore.

There will be a number of parking attendants located near The HTC Center as well as on Chanticleer Drive to help any spectator find the nearest parking option. Coastal Carolina asks that all donors who have a restricted lot parking pass prominently display that pass in their vehicle to help facilitate the parking process.

A new feature to the gameday experience is Chauncey’s Sign Shop Chauncey’s Sign Shop, located on the second level of the Chanticleer Store, is designed for children 14 and under to create signs in support of the Chanticleers. Chauncey’s Sign Shop will be open before each men’s basketball game. The Chanticleer Store and the Department of Athletics will provide all necessary supplies.

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