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Basketball (M)

Terrence Hamilton: A King and his Court

By Ronnie Gallagher, The Salisbury Post Getting ready for another college basketball season ... We don’t like to copy our tabloid cover ideas from past years but this season it would’ve been easy. A couple of years ago, we had Scooter Sherrill surrounded by one of the best crops of female high school players we’ve ever had in one year. We called the high school cover “The King and his Court.” Today’s cover of the Division II tab really is a King and his Court.Terrence Hamilton, or T-Ham to his teammates — and believe me, he loves to ham it up — actually won the title of Catawba College Homecoming King during the school’s halftime festivities on Nov. 3. They even gave him a crown. When deciding who to put on the cover, we looked at Livingstone. A bunch of new players. We looked at Pfeiffer. A bunch of new players. So Catawba, coming off a 25-5 season, gave us our only male. In women’s play, each of our three area schools had an easy choice. Livingstone gave us the CIAA’s top returning scorer in Erica Deas. Pfeiffer gave us Amanda Joplin, who could well be the top player in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference. And Catawba’s women, like the men, coming off a 25-5 record, gave us Danyel Locklear, who coach John Duncan says could be the best post player in the South Atlantic Conference. So they gathered in Livingstone’s New Trent Gym for a little mugging, photo-taking and showing off. *** Hamilton enjoyed letting the girls feel his muscles. He has popeye arms this season and wants everyone to know they can now call him Mr. T if they’d like. Hamilton hit the weight room hard all of last winter and spring because he couldn’t run. He suffered a devastating broken leg at Wingate early in his junior year. “It has been a struggle for Terrence,” said coach Jim Baker. “But I think he’s about at 100 percent. Every sprint drill we do, it’s a race between him and Brian Carter.” *** Another reason to hate polls: See if you can figure this one out. Baker brings back the bulk of his team that went to the national playoffs. Duncan loses the bulk of his team that went to the national playoffs. So when the Division II polls came out, Catawba’s men were not ranked. Duncan’s team was ranked 10th. Last year, with talent like Donna Carr and Lakai Brice, the Indians weren’t ranked at the end of the season. “We didn’t get the respect we deserved last year,” Duncan grinned, “so maybe that was praying on their conscience. Last year, we should’ve shown up in the polls somewhere.” Baker can’t understand it either. “Nobody outside of our league, is giving us any credit,” he said. “We’ll use that. Basketball has a tendency of working itself out.” *** Don’t miss: The men of Catawba and Pfeiffer square off in the season opener Saturday at Catawba. Game time is 7 p.m. Nov. 20: Pfeiffer women at Catawba. Nov. 24: Catawba men at Livingstone. Jan. 2: Livingstone men at Catawba. Jan. 30: Catawba women at Livingstone. *** The Slick Watts award: Watch out for these two whirling dervish ballhandlers: Catawba’s Ashley Cox, a freshman from Richmond, Va. is a 5-6 dribbling machine. Livingstone’s J.C. Henry can do it all with his hands — and can make it look easy. *** The Road Runner Award: Are there two guards anywhere faster than Catawba’s Duke Phipps and Kevin Petty? *** Thought you ought to know: One of the best players in Catawba history — Marvin Moore — has joined Baker as an assistant. *** Ready for breakout seasons: Catawba’s Desiree Pugh, Livingstone’s Robyn Wright, Pfeiffer’s Damien Argrett. *** For the record: Of the six coaches at the three area colleges, Duncan is tops at 105-36 in five years. Which is saying something for a school whose all-time mark is only 335-391. Baker is 138-63 in seven years. Catawba’s men are 1,041-882 since 1926. A lot of credit goes to Livingstone’s Mitchell for completely turning around the women’s program. Yes, he is only 89-97 in eight years, but before the arrival of the former North Rowan Cavalier and Catawba Indian, the Blue Bears were lucky to win five or six games a season. He has guided them to two CIAA Tournament titles and one national playoff berth. *** They’ll be missed: Livingstone lost the CIAA’s top scorer in Rodney Gidney and Catawba lost Ned Gusic, a 6-6 forward who averaged 15 points per game. Pfeiffer lost All-American Nem Sovic and little-man legend Terrence Baxter, who could dominate games at 5-8. Gusic is currently playing on a second division club in Italy and had 30 points in an exhibition against Davidson. *** This is an edited version of the story that ran in The Salisbury Post on Wednesday, November 14. ######

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