Liberty men’s basketball begins practice

liberty basketballExcitement surrounds Liberty men’s basketball and as the Flames approach a historical season, the team is back on the court as practice has officially begun.

“This is part of the year that we enjoy the most, being back on the court competing and the opportunity to get better every day,” head coach Ritchie McKay said.

A mixture of veterans and new faces were on the court for the Flames with eight returning letterwinners along with six newcomers. The Flames return four of last year’s five starters including Lovell Cabbil and Scottie James who were named to the Big South All-Tournament Team. McKay returns a lot of offense from last year’s squad, with the returnees producing 76.2 percent of last year’s scoring.

“The experience is definitely welcomed. We are in that place in our program where we have earned the right to be good,” McKay added. “We are in that mode of the ‘ability to learn.’ Without question our leaders that have been in the program have been the initiators in that pursuit.”

McKay will also have some new faces on the bench by his side as assistant coaches Derek Johnston and Kevin Anderson begin their first season at Liberty. Johnston comes from the University of Alabama Huntsville where he served as an assistant coach under head coach Lennie Acuff and captured two Gulf South Conference (GSC) regular season titles and a GSC tournament title.

Anderson is no stranger to Liberty as he saw the program first-hand while at Campbell last season where he served as the assistant director of basketball operations. Anderson helped the Camels post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in school history while making the postseason in both of his seasons on staff.

Also joining the staff is Director of Player Development, Joe Pierre III, having come from Middle Tennessee working for Kermit Davis. During his two years at Middle Tennessee, the Blue Raiders went 56-13 with two postseason tournament appearances.

“I have always been blessed with great men and women around me but they (Anderson, Johnston and Pierre III) are fabulous,” McKay said. “Coach (Brad) Soucie has done a great job of getting our coaches acclimated to our system.”

All practices lead up to Nov. 8 when the Flames tip off their 2018-19 season starting at home against Maine Fort Kent. Season tickets are available for purchase and can be found here.

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