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Friday, November 11, 2016
Hampton Pirates to Open 2016-17 Campaign Against Rider
HAMPTON, Virginia –The Hampton University men's basketball team will kick off the 2016-17 at home on Friday evening, welcoming Rider to the HU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
The Series: The Pirates are 0-1 against Rider, falling 75-64 on a neutral court during the 1998-99 season.
Pirates Against the MAAC: Hampton is 4-13 against schools currently in the MAAC; the Pirates last played a MAAC school in the NCAA Tournament First Four in 2015, defeating Manhattan 74-64. The Pirates are 0-4 against Ioan; 1-2 against Manhattan; 0-1 against Marist; 1-2 against Monmouth; 0-1 against Niagara; 1-1 against Quinnipiac; 0-1 against Rider; and 1-1 against Saint Peter's. Hampton has never faced Canisius, Fairfield, or Siena.
Pirates at Home: In head coach Edward Joyner Jr.'s first seven seasons at the helm, the Pirates are 51-32 at home – including a 9-2 mark in the HU Convocation Center last season. That was the team's best home record under Joyner, though the Pirates did go 9-3 at home in 2013-14 and 8-3 in the Convocation Center in 2010-11 – a season in which Hampton won 24 games and made it to the NCAA Tournament.
Starting Off With Home Cooking: Friday's opener against Rider will mark the first time since the 2013-14 season – and the third time under head coach Edward Joyner Jr. – that the Pirates will open the season at home. Hampton kicked off the 2013-14 campaign with a 77-69 win over William & Mary, and the Pirates also opened the 2011-12 season with a home game against the Tribe – winning that one 73-58. This will mark the first season during Joyner's tenure that the Pirates have opened with back-to-back home games.
Scouting the Broncs: Rider is entering its fifth season under head coach Kevin Baggett, coming off a 2015-16 campaign that saw the Broncs go 13-20 overall and just 8-12 in the MAAC. The Broncs, who finished eighth in the MAAC last season, return one starter and five letterwinners for 2016-17. Kahlil Thomas led the MAAC in field goal percentage and was third in rebounding last season, earning Third Team All-MAAC honors, and Jimmie Taylor III is a former MAAC All-Rookie Team honoree who has over 1,000 career points.
Pirates Picked to Finish Third: Despite winning back-to-back MEAC titles, the Pirates were picked to finish third in the conference this season in a poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors. Hampton, which returns just one starter from last season, picked up two first-place votes and racked up 250 points in the poll. Howard was tabbed the preseason favorite, while South Carolina State – which fell to the Pirates in last season's MEAC Tournament championship game – was picked to finish second.
Cooks the Only One:Lawrence Cooks is the lone returning starter for the Pirates, and he comes into 2016-17 as the team's top returner in scoring (7.8 ppg), rebounding (3.7 rpg), assists (47), and steals (19). He is also the only player on this year's team that isn't a freshman, sophomore, or junior – though he does have two MEAC championship rings and NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit. Cooks dropped a career-high 22 points at Winthrop last season, a campaign in which he scored in double figures 11 times.
Wilson-Fisher Looking for a Bigger Role:Charles Wilson-Fisher was a key role player in the Pirates' run through the MEAC Tournament in 2015, and he was a key reserve down low for the Pirates last season. 2016-17 could figure to be a breakout season for the Los Angeles native with the graduation of Jervon Pressley, and Wilson-Fisher will be looking to improve on his scoring and rebounding averages (2.7 and 2.5, respectively) this season. He tied his career high in points with 10 last season against Northern Arizona, and his career high of 10 boards came in the 2015 MEAC Tournament against Maryland Eastern Shore.
For more information on Hampton University basketball, please call the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5757, or visit the official Pirates website at www.hamptonpirates.com.