MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON COMING FAST, FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
2013-14 Quick Facts
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State men's basketball team, guided by sixth-year head coach Brian Katz, begins its preseason practice schedule on Friday, Sept. 27, at 6 a.m.
The Hornets are beginning their practice schedule earlier than ever before. The NCAA passed legislation in April that teams can now hold their first practice two weeks earlier than before which allows teams to have 30 days of practice in the six weeks before the first regular season game.
After Friday, practice will continue five days a week leading up to the team's lone home exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 1, against Menlo at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets' season opener and home opener is Friday, Nov. 8, against UC Santa Cruz at 7:35 p.m. The season opener is part of a doubleheader that will see the Sacramento State women take on Cal State Northridge at 5:05 p.m.
The Hornets have just four non-conference home games on the schedule, including Nov. 30 vs. UC Irvine and Dec. 29 against UC Riverside. The Big Sky Conference portion of the season, which includes 20 games (10 at home, and 10 on the road), begins on Jan. 2.
Below are some notes heading into the 2013-14 season.
• Although Sacramento State lost three starters from a year ago, the Hornets do return arguably one of the best back courts in the Big Sky Conference in junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. The two will share the team captain duties this season. Garrity will enter his third season with the Hornets and has been the team's starting point guard since the moment he stepped foot on campus. McKinney transferred from Ohlone College prior to last season and burst onto the scene by averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The duo combined to average 23.9 points and 7.6 assists per game while shooting .418 from the field, .392 from the 3-point line and .832 from the free throw line. Garrity, who was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year two seasons ago, was named honorable mention all-league for the second straight year.
• Overall, the Hornets return eight players and a redshirt from a season ago. The 14-man roster is comprised of three seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. The team is guard-heavy this season with eight different players who could see time at one of the guard positions.
• The Hornets did lose four of their top six scorers in forward John Dickson (1st; 12.8 ppg), center Konner Veteto (4th; 10.2 ppg), swingman Joe Eberhard (5th; 6.9 ppg) and shooting guard Jackson Carbajal (6th; 3.3 ppg). In all, Sacramento State lost five players from a season ago, and those five players combined to average nearly 50 percent (.498) of the team's total offensive production.
• Sacramento State's 14-15 overall record and 8-12 conference mark from a season ago could have been much better if not for the four one-point losses during league play.
• Sacramento State's 14 victories were the most in seven years, and the second most during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.). The Hornets also posted eight conference wins, tying for the most since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97. The team has now increased its conference win total four straight seasons.
• Brian Katz, who will be entering his sixth season with the program in 2013-14, received a new five-year contract in July, lengthening his tenure as the Hornets' head coach through at least the 2017-18 season.
• Sacramento State went 10-4 at home in 2012-13, the program's most wins inside the Nest in eight years, and tied for the most during the Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• The team allowed opponents just 65.7 points per game, the best mark in over 40 years (the 1970-71 squad allowed 64.7 points per game).
• The Hornets never lost more than two games in a row, and were at or above the .500 mark all season until the final game of the year.
• Nineteen of the team's 29 games were decided by a single digit outcome, the most games decided by nine points or less since the 1983-84 squad also played 19 games decided by single digits.
• Sacramento State had four players finish the season averaging double figures in points for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Two of those players (forward John Dickson, center Konner Veteto) were lost to expired eligibility.
• The Hornets have converted at least one three-pointer in 548 straight games, a streak which dates back to Nov. 28, 1993.
• Academically, of the 18 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under Coach Katz, 17 have graduated.
• Sophomore guard Dreon Barlett, who wore #20 last season, will switch his jersey number to #1.
• All regular-season home contests, and road games played at a Big Sky Conference venue can again be seen live and free via webcast at www.WatchBigSky.com.
• Steve McElroy returns for his 17th season as the radio voice of the Hornets, and every regular season game this year can be heard locally on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer. Broadcasts will also be streamed live and free on iHeart radio and on www.hornetsports.com.
• After two seasons as Sacramento State's director of men's basketball operations, Chris Walker was elevated to assistant coach. In addition, Nate Smith, who spent two years as the team manager, was promoted to director of basketball operations. The pair will join head coach Brian Katz, associate head coach Brandon Laird and assistant coach Ajay Riding on the sidelines. This will be Riding's fifth season and Laird's third year on the Hornet coaching staff.