Eagles to Play Again in Alaska

Aug. 14, 2007

Under the duress of a short time frame in which to work, new Eastern Washington University head coach Kirk Earlywine has filled his roster and schedule for the 2007-08 men's basketball season. However, finalizing the schedule is still a work in progress after EWU agreed to become a last-minute replacement at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska.

Earlywine was named head coach on June 15, and has scrambled ever since to piece together his roster and schedule. Both will provide challenges galore for Earlywine and his staff, but it's a start in rebuilding the Eastern Basketball program back into prominence.

"This summer has been a whirlwind," said Earlywine, who still has yet to move from his previous home in North Carolina. "It's probably a little more than what I expected, but nobody told me it was going to be easy. Anytime you change coaches there is going to be a degree of instability. Hopefully that doesn't carry over when we start school on Sept. 26. We've worked very hard at preparing for the coming season, and I anticipate by the time we have our first workout that we will be extraordinarily well-prepared and organized."

The schedule was completed when the Eagles accepted an invitation from the University of Alaska Anchorage to play in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 21-24. Eastern, which was 0-3 in its only other appearance in the Shootout in 2005, was a late replacement for Liberty in the eight-team tourney.

Also competing in the 30th annual college basketball event are host Alaska Anchorage, Gonzaga, Butler, Michigan, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Western Kentucky. Brackets will be announced in the near future.

"The schedule was pretty much complete," Earlywine said. "The wrinkle with the Great Alaska Shootout only added to my to-do list."

Eastern's difficult 2007-08 schedule also includes road games at Washington State (Nov. 9), Washington (Nov. 18), Missouri-Kansas City (Dec. 3), Kansas (Dec. 5) and Idaho (Dec. 9). The Eagles will also play at New Mexico, but the date of that is still up in the air because of the addition of the Great Alaska Shootout to EWU's schedule.

After home exhibition games on Oct. 31 and Nov. 5, Eastern will play non-league home games against UC-Riverside (Nov. 15), Santa Clara (Nov. 29), Portland (Dec. 17) and UC-Santa Barbara (Dec. 29). Eastern will also schedule Cascade College from Portland, Ore., but the date depends on the placement of the New Mexico game.

Eastern has its earliest start to Big Sky Conference play in school history when the Eagles host Portland State on Dec. 22. Eastern closes the league season at Portland State on March 3. The Big Sky Conference Tournament -- which Eastern missed for the first time in 10 seasons last year -- is on March 8, 11 and 12.

The roster released by Earlywine includes just three returning letter winners from last year's 15-14 squad. The lone returning starter is forward Kellen Williams, with center/forward Brandon Moore and guard Marcus Hinton also back. A pair of 2007-08 redshirt forwards return -- Jack Loofburrow and Chris Sprinker.

Earlywine has bolstered his roster with four junior college recruits -- guard Adris DeLeon (College of Southern Idaho), guard Milan Stanojevic (Northwest College in Wyoming), guard Gary Gibson (Miami Dade College in Florida) and forward Matt Brunell (Big Bend Community College in Washington). Brunell will be a hometown favorite after graduating from Cheney, Wash., High School in 2006.

Guard Trey Gross from Stockton, Calif., is the lone freshman on EWU's roster, and joins DeLeon as the only players who signed letters of intent under the previous coaching staff. Eastern allowed five other signees to opt out of their letter of intent commitments to attend EWU.

Earlywine also announced that a pair of transfers will join his program and sit out the 2007-08 season. They include guard Benny Valentine from Texas Tech and guard/forward Andy Genao from Prairie View A&M. Valentine will have two years of eligibility remaining and Genao will have one.

"It has certainly been a challenge," Earlywine said of the construction of his roster. "It put us behind the eight ball to give the other players who signed letters of intent with the previous staff an option to go elsewhere. I thought that was the right thing to do, but it made filling out our roster a challenge."

Eastern lost eight letter winners from last year's squad, including All-American Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey had two years of eligibility remaining, but declared for the NBA Draft and was picked 15th overall by the Detroit Pistons. The other three players with eligibility remaining all transferred to other schools.

 

TENTATIVE 2007-08 SCHEDULE

Day - Date - Opponent - Site
Wednesday - Oct. 31 - #TBA - Cheney, Wash.
Monday - Nov. 5 - #Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.) - Cheney, Wash.
TBA - Nov. 12 or 26 - at New Mexico - Albuquerque, N.M.
TBA - TBA - Cascade - Cheney, Wash.
Friday - Nov. 9 - at Washington State - Pullman, Wash.
Thursday - Nov. 15 - %UC-Riverside - Cheney, Wash.
Sunday - Nov. 18 - at Washington - Seattle, Wash.
Wed.-Sat. - Nov. 21-24 - at Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout - Anchorage, Alaska
Thursday - Nov. 29 - Santa Clara - Cheney, Wash.
Monday - Dec. 3 - at Missouri-Kansas City - Kansas City, Mo.
Wednesday - Dec. 5 - at Kansas - Lawrence, Kan.
Sunday - Dec. 9 - at Idaho - Moscow, Idaho
Monday - Dec. 17 - Portland - Cheney, Wash.
Saturday - Dec. 22 - *Portland State - Cheney, Wash.
Saturday - Dec. 29 - UC-Santa Barbara - Cheney, Wash.
Thursday - Jan. 3 - *Northern Arizona - Cheney, Wash.
Saturday - Jan. 5 - *Sacramento State - Cheney, Wash.
Thursday - Jan.10 - at *Idaho State - Pocatello, Idaho
Saturday - Jan. 12 - at *Weber State - Ogden, Utah
Thursday - Jan. 17 - *Northern Colorado - Cheney, Wash.
Thursday - Jan. 24 - at *Montana - Missoula, Mont.
Saturday - Jan. 26 - at *Montana State - Bozeman, Mont.
Thursday - Jan. 31 - *Montana State - Cheney, Wash.
Sunday - Feb. 3 - $*Montana - Cheney, Wash.
Thursday - Feb. 7 - at *Sacramento State - Sacramento, Calif.
Sunday - Feb. 10 - $at *Northern Arizona - Flagstaff, Ariz.
Thursday - Feb. 14 - *Weber State - Cheney, Wash.
Saturday - Feb. 16 - *Idaho State - Cheney, Wash.
Saturday - Feb. 23 - at *Northern Colorado - Greeley, Colo.
Monday - March 3 - at *Portland State - Portland, Ore.
Saturday - March 8 - Big Sky Tournament Quarterfinals - Higher Seeds
Tuesday - March 11 - Big Sky Tournament Semifinals - Reg. Season Champion
Wednesday - March 12 - Big Sky Tournament Championships - Reg. Season Champion

All Times Pacific. *Big Sky Conference Game. #Exhibition Game. %Doubleheader with EWU women's team. $Televised regionally on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.

DATES & TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE . . . CALL NUMBERS BELOW FOR CHANGES

All Eastern Home Games Played at Reese Court on the Eastern Washington University campus.

Athletics Web Site: HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM or HTTP://WWW.EWU.EDU

Schedule or Ticket Information: 509-359-6334 or 509-359-4339 or 509-359-2463 or 1-866-4GO-EAGS

 

2007-08 ROSTER

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS (*2006-07 Starter)
Name - Pos - Ht - Wt. - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
Marcus Hinton - G - 6-3 - 190 - Sr. - 1L - Tacoma, Wash. (Wilson HS '04 & Centralia CC, Wash.)
Brandon Moore - C/F - 6-9 - 245 - So. - 1L - Graham, Wash. (Bethel HS '05)
*Kellen Williams -
F - 6-5 - 205 - Sr. - 2L - Seattle, Wash. (Franklin HS '03 & Highline CC, Wash.)

2006-07 REDSHIRTS
Name - Pos - Ht - Wt. - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
Jack Loofburrow - F - 6-7 - 215 - Fr. - HS - Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower HS '06)
Chris Sprinker
- F - 6-8 - 220 - Fr. - HS - Tacoma, Wash. (Curtis HS '06)

NEWCOMERS
Name - Pos - Ht - Wt. - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
Matt Brunell - F - 6-7 - 225 - So. - JC - Cheney, Wash. (Cheney HS '06 & Big Bend CC, Wash.)
Adris DeLeon - G - 6-0 - 170 - Jr. - JC - Bronx, N.Y. (Brandeis HS '04 & College of Southern Idaho)
Gary Gibson - G - 6-2 - 185 - So. - JC - Windsor, Ontario (Washington HS, Fla., `05 & Miami Dade College)
Trey Gross - G - 6-3 - 175 - Fr. - HS - Stockton, Calif. (Edison HS '07)
Milan Stanojevic - G - 6-2 - 192 - Jr. - JC - Subotica, Serbia (HS of Economics `05 & Northwest College, Wyo.)

2007-08 REDSHIRTS (Transfers)
Name - Pos - Ht - Wt. - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
Andy Genao - G/F - 6-4 - 205 - Sr. - TR - Bronx, N.Y. (Columbus HS `04 & Prairie View A&M)
Benny Valentine - G - 5-7 - 175 - Jr. - TR - Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central '05 & Texas Tech)

LETTER WINNERS LOST (*2006-07 Starter)
Name - Pos - Ht - Wt. - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
*Paul Butorac - C/F - 6-10 - 215 - 4L - Medical Lake, Wash. (Medical Lake HS `02)
Rhett Humphrey
- G - 5-11 - 180 - 2L - Cheney, Wash. (Cheney HS '03 & Wenatchee Valley CC, Wash.)
Omar Krayem - G - 6-0 - 180 - 1L - Modesto, Calif. (Modesto HS '04 & Lower Columbia CC, Wash)
Matt Penoncello - G/F - 6-5 - 210 - 2L - Moscow, Idaho (Moscow HS '04)
*Derek Risper - F - 6-8 - 235 - 2L - Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs HS '03 & Saddleback CC, Calif.)
*Rodney Stuckey - G - 6-5 - 205 - 2L - Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS '04)
*Michael Taylor - G - 6-4 - 190 - 1L - Brewster, Wash. (Brewster HS '06)
Neal Zumwalt - G - 6-3 - 195 - 2L - Portland, Ore. (Lincoln HS '03 & Northeastern JC, Colo.)

Head Coach: Kirk Earlywine (First Year at EWU; Campbell University '87)
Assistant: Jamie Matthews (First Year at EWU; Ball State '93)
Assistant: Grant Leep (Third Year, Washington '02)

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