COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Head coach Steve Payne will rollout his
second edition of Tennessee Tech men's basketball Saturday night,
when the Golden Eagles open the 2012-13 season by hosting NCCAA
opponent Crowley's Ridge in the second part of a doubleheader.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: OVC Digital Network (Brandon Goodwin)
Setting the Stage
The Golden Eagles will open the 2012-13 season in the second half
of a double-header when it welcomes Crowley's Ridge to the Eblen
Center in Cookeville, Tenn.
Saturday's game will Tech's annual First Tennessee Bank's Poster
night. Every fan in attendance will receive a free schedule poster.
Players from both the men's and women's teams will be available
post-game for autographs.
Head Coach Steve Payne is back for his second season at the helm
for the Golden Eagles following a solid first-year campaign. The
2011-12 squad finished 19-14, won the iBN Sports Las Vegas Classic,
and earned two all-OVC first-team honors.
Many of the faces Golden Eagle fans knew and loved from last
year are gone. The team's leading scorer, Kevin Murphy, graduated
and was drafted in the second round of the NBA draft by the Utah
Jazz. Ohio Valley Conference assists and steals leader Zac Swansey
graduated, as did seven-footer Liam McMorrow, who was taken by the
Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League draft.
Also among the departed for the Golden Eagles include four-time
team defensive player of the year Zach Bailey, leading blocker
Bassey Inameti, four-year role player Riley Hunley, John Sexton,
and Chase Dunn.
With just six players returning from last season's squad, only
five of which played last season, Payne needed a deep recruiting
class to help keep the Golden Eagles in contention this season. And
he did just that, adding two transfers, four true freshman, and two
redshirt freshmen to round out the 2012-13 roster.
Among those returnees for the Golden Eagles, none stands out
more than preseason all-OVC selection Jud Dillard. The
senior guard, who was selected to the all-OVC first team last
season, led the conference in rebounding, grabbing just over eight
boards a game. He finished second on the team in scoring, recording
a little over 17 points per contest. His eight double-doubles led
the team and tied for second in the league.
Two other starters return will return for Tech, senior big man
Barnes and junior forward Dennis Ogbe. Barnes
started 29 games in 2011-12 and is the lone returning post player
for the Golden Eagles. Ogbe nabbed 20 starts last season and will
look to make a habit of it again this year.
Junior swingman Matt Marseille
returns to the Golden Eagles after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign
due to a knee injury. The veteran leader will be looked upon to
bounce back and provide some necessary depth both down low and on
Sophomores Mitchell Hill and
round out the returnees for Tech. Hill, a local Cookeville product
will look to provide coach Payne with some key minutes down the
stretch and use his fantastic work ethic to challenge his teammates
to work harder. McKay had a solid freshman season and projects to
start early and often for the Golden Eagles out on the wing.
New to the crew this season are transfers Jeremiah
Samarrippas and Josiah Moore.
Samarrippas, a junior guard from Southern Methodist University, is
expected to make an immediate impact at the point guard position
after gaining clearance by the NCAA to play this season. He
finished fifth in Conference USA last season in both assists (4.2)
and assist/turnover ratio (1.8). Moore, who transferred from
Nebraska, will sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer
regulations following one year in the Big 10.
Redshirt freshmen Lanerryl Johnson
Riggins are ready to go following a year of learning and
development. Johnson, a speedy guard from Atlanta, Ga., will prove
to be an asset in the backcourt for the Golden Eagles due to his
defensive skills and game-changing speed. Riggins adds a 6-9 frame
to the mix and will provide some quality minutes in the paint.
The incoming 2012-13 class for the Golden Eagles is a strong
Haynes, a top 150 recruit out of Calera, Ala., will sit out
much of the first month due to a foot injury. However, he is
expected to make an immediate impact as a back-up point guard and
spot-up shooter when he gets healthy.
Morse, a 6-8 forward from Lawrenceville, Ga. has already made
an impact on the coaching staff, projecting as a possible starter
this weekend and is expected to provide a strong presence in the
frontcourt for the Golden Eagles. He is joined by fellow big man,
Weisenbach, a seven-footer out of Dublin, Ohio. Rounding out
the 2012-13 roster is freshman Ammanuel
Diressa. Diressa, a native of Toronto, Canada, will provide
Tech with an immediate three-point threat.
For complete gamenotes, please click here.
Saturday's game will be a part of a special ticket plan on
Tech's campus. Anyone holding a ticket for the football game will
be admitted to the basketball games, and anyone with a ticket to
the basketball games can attend the football game. To take
advantage of this opportunity, fans only need to show their ticket
at the ticket window at either Tucker Stadium or Eblen Center, and
they will receive a complimentary ticket to the other event that
For additional information on this special ticket offer, visit or
call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center at (931)