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Dye set for second season as AB coach

Battlers open campaign Thursday at Wheeling in first MEC contest

The Inter-Mountain file photo Philip Barbour High School product David Shriver returns for the Battlers this season after averaging 12.4 points and 3.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

PHILIPPI — The Alderson Broaddus men’s basketball team will begin their season on the road against Wheeling University at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Second-year head coach Stephen Dye looks to improve his team after going 9-19 at his alma mater last season.

“Honestly, I’m just looking forward to being back in the Rex Pyles Memorial Coliseum with my guys going to battle for our University and Community,” said Dye. “It’s been a tough year for everyone and I think getting the opportunity to be back on the gym floor, playing the game we love and respect will help everyone.”

The Battlers, who will compete on the Mountain East Conference for the first time this season, saw the departure of 1,000-point career scorers Malik Bocook and Bruce Spruell due to graduation in the spring. Despite the loss of two veteran leaders, the Battlers returned the core of their team, with some new transfer additions.

Juniors KJ Walker and David Shriver return as the team’s second and third leading scorers, respectively, from a season ago. Walker averaged 13.5 points and led the team with 4.1 assists per contest. Shriver, a Philip Barbour High School product, contributed 12.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

The junior duo were sharpshooters from beyond the 3-point arc last season. Walker shot 41% from 3- point territory and Shriver made 82 3-pointers on 39% shooting.

Dye will look to senior forward John Grayson and junior swingman transfer Vincent Smalls for additional leadership this season.

“Right now I think John Grayson and Vincent Smalls have shown us they really want the responsibility of being a leader,” Dye said. “They each have their own way of doing it, but they both have shown us they care about this team and are willing to hold everyone accountable.”

Dye noted that Winfield native Zach Simpkins will play a large role in the rotation this season. As a freshman last year, Simpkins appeared in 20 games and started in two. The 6-foot-4 guard is a 3-point specialist and has length that makes him a versatile defensive threat.

The Battlers will open the home portion of the schedule at 4 p.m. Sunday against West Liberty.

Rex Pyles Arena was closed for repairs in January of 2020 and was not used for a portion of the 2019-20 season.

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