The Catawba men’s basketball ended their season after a record breaking season. The team a lost to USC Aiken 88-79 in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Southeast Regional Conference at Augusta University.
Despite elimination in the quarterfinal, Catawba men’s basketball team had a historic season with a school record breaking fifteen conference wins. Further, the team also had many individuals who were awarded for their season.
2022-2023 Season Awards and Achievements
-Head coach Rob Perron was awarded SAC coach of the year.
-Deangelo Epps (Guard) was named to second team all conference. Epps averaged 14.5 points and five rebounds per game, leading the team in defensive rebounds with 111 this season.
-Jaeveon Jones made second team all conference. Jones averaged 14.9 points per game and led all of DII in steals per game posting 87 on the season.
-The team was 12th in DII in turnovers with three players ranking in the top 8 in the conference.
Season’s Defense Numbers
When Coach Perron was asked about why the team’s style of play was so heavily reinforced on the defensive end he answered stating: “Defense is pretty important, they can’t score they can’t win… we create that discipline playing more people than most, most people are trying to play seven guys and we’ll play up to ten maybe eleven.” Perron went on to state that, “numbers can be tricky, in some ways we’re probably more efficient than we’re rated but when you’re forcing turnovers at such a high rate that causes open-floor situations that often lead to layups”.
Season’s Offsence Numbers
Catawba’s offense ranked second in points per game and net efficiency within the conference. The team ranked eighth in the division for three-pointers, averaging Catawba. Coach Perron explained that his offensive philosophy placed more emphasis on “putting pressure on the rim.”
Rebuilding and Looking Forward
The 2023 season could be labeled by some as a “bounce back year” for men’s basketball. In 2022 the team went 11-16, an outlier considering the team hadn’t had a year under .500 in quite some time. When asked what the was reason for the team’s lackluster seasons in years past Coach Perron credited the team’s lack of depth as the reason, “We lost twelve seniors in a two year span (2020-2021)… we had some good wins and good players but just weren’t very deep”.
In 2023, Catawba had ten players with over total 390 minutes played on the season and all of those players averaged over nine points per game over the season. Coach Perron compared the team’s depth to the Kansas team’s in the past where there was “Danny Manning and the Unknown Jayhawk”, “It can be any of the Indians any night, and the key for us was to have multiple guys step up… our team motto has been, we need everybody.”
Another thing Coach Perron credited to making this team so effective was their chemistry and closeness that was built through spending time together. The coach said that the team will often plan times to go bowling or just hang out. This chemistry is apparent during games, as those on the bench always celebrates together after a key play by their teammate.
Looking forward to next year the team is projected to have thirteen returners, only losing two seniors in the summer and could be just as dangerous in 2024. Be sure to prepare yourself for another successful season of Catawba basketball on the horizon, go Cat-U!