Young men’s basketball players counted on to lead team to MEAC title

The men’s basketball team finished 10-21 overall and 6-10 in the MEAC last year under the direction of second-year head coach Eugene Harris.

The Rattlers made an unanticipated run to the quarterfinals of the MEAC Basketball

Tournament even though they finished the season without a winning record.

This season the Rattlers have a new facility, three returning starters and key additions that will hopefully contribute to a MEAC Championship.

Incoming players have a void to fill following the departure of three seniors. The coaching staff is very confident that a returning scorer, senior guard Brandon Bryant, has already filled the void.

Bryant, a 6’3 senior guard from Tuscaloosa, Ala., started in all 31 games for the Rattlers last season averaging 10.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

“He’s a great player,” Harris said. “We need his leadership on the floor.”

Dale Hughes, a sophomore guard from Columbus, Miss., averaged 9.6 points per game during his sophomore campaign. Hughes placed second in the MEAC in made three pointers with 72.

“Dale is in better physical shape this year and his ball handling skills have also improved,” Harris said. “We’re really looking for him to contribute on the offensive end of the ball for us this season.”

David Buchanon, a 6’1 sophomore guard from Portal, Ga., will also contribute to the Rattlers backcourt. Last season Buchanon impressed coaching staff by coming off the bench and scoring double-digits against a few opponents.

He also leads the team in free throw percentage with 77.8 percent.

In the Rattlers’ frontcourt, Harris will be looking for leadership and impact from forward Larry Jackson. Jackson, a 6’6 junior forward from Chattahoochee, Fla., averaged 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Joining Jackson in the frontcourt will be sophomores Cecil Bent and Yannick Crowder. Bent, a native of Swainsboro, Ga., will be a key player this season with his 6’9, 290 pound frame.

“Bent will be a dominating force in the middle for us this year,” assistant Coach Reggie Sharp said. “He is in better shape and well conditioned for the upcoming season.”

Crowder, a 6-8 shot blocker from Stone Mountain, Ga., will see increased playing time this season. Last season Crowder earned MEAC Rookie of the Week honors for his double-double performance against South Carolina State

“This season we have better team chemistry,” Crowder said. “We have our minds set on one thing, and that’s to win a MEAC championship.”

The Rattlers also brought in a group of recruits, including guard Rasheem Jenkins, a Bronx, N.Y. native, and transfer from Panola College in Carthage, Texas. Jenkins is an option from the perimeter with 44 made three pointers last season.

Forward recruit Chris Walker, a 6’6 forward/guard from Selma, Ala., will help strengthen FAMU’s rebounding. Walker grabbed 13 rebounds per game and averaged a double-double for Wallace-Selma Junior College.

“Walker is a rebounding machine,” Harris said. “We look for him to rebound and score for us.”

The season is set to open in the new Al Lawson Multipurpose Gymnasium on Friday, Nov. 6 with an exhibition match-up against Tuskegee University at 7:30 p.m.

They kick off the regular season against Georgia Tech on Saturday, Nov. 14 in the Alexander Coliseum in Atlanta at 7:00 p.m.