CARROLLTON, Ga. - The curtain is set to open on the second season of the Dave Moore era at the University of West Georgia, as UWG Men's Basketball opens the 2019-20 season on Friday evening at The Coliseum at 6 p.m. as part of the Gulf South/Sunshine State Conference Challenge. Today, uwgsports.com looks at the guards on Moore's roster heading into Friday's opener.
Returning for the upcoming season is a trio of guards, led by junior Greg James. The Snellville native was a starter to open the 2018-19 season and was hot from the three-point line before he was sidelined with an injury. James sat out for seven games from late November until mid-January, but his return was a big shot in the arm for the Wolves. James hit 35 three-pointers at a .412 clip last season and he hit at least six three-pointers in a single game twice. For the year, he averaged 9.2 points per game.
All of the returning guards for the upcoming season are underclassmen, with a pair of sophomores in Michael Zabetakis and Deng Nhial. Zabetakis is the second leading scorer returning from a year ago, averaging 8.3 points per game as a true freshman. The Cumming, Ga. native will likely play a variety of roles in the 2019-20 season, as Moore looks for his to score at three different potential positions. He has the ability to shoot from long range, hitting 36 percent from the three-point line last season, and can get to the basket when necessary. His best performance of the year came in the final game of the season when Zabetakis scored 22 in the postseason against Alabama Huntsville on the road.
Nhial redshirted two seasons ago and provided solid minutes last season, including picking up a start in 13 of the final 15 games of the season. He averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game on the year, hitting 20-of-61 from three-point range and he was an 80 percent free-throw shooter. He scored in double-figures five times on the year, including 15 against Christian Brothers on January 26.
Moore and his staff went out and found a pair of transfer guards who will be able to score and score a lot from the beginning. Oronte' Anderson led Gordon State in scoring a year ago, averaging 13.9 points per game, and he will be the starting point guard for the Wolves this season. Kadeim Jones averaged 17.0 points per game at Lourdes Community College last season and will also be a player to watch throughout the year. In addition, freshman Rodney Wiley will be in the mix for playing time at point guard this season, The Ohio native has shown promise during preseason workouts and will be a big part of the Wolves' success in 2019-20.
The Wolves will have plenty of depth at guard with freshmen J.J. Barnes and Caleb Woods, who will both look to see playing time early in the season. West Georgia will play Embry-Riddle on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a matchup against Palm Beach Atlantic scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. All games this weekend offer free admission, and UWG Athletics will begin the 2019 Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive with all games at The Coliseum during the month of November.