The Seward County Community College men’s basketball team will start its 2007-2008 regular season on Thursday night hosting the Pepsi Classic at the Green House in Liberal. Saints’ first-year head coach Bryan Zollinger and his squad will take the court for the first time against Sterling College J.V. at 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. This weekend the Saints will also host Carl Albert State College at 8 p.m. on Friday and Garden City Community College at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The Saints return five sophomores from last season and the program has welcomed six newcomers to the roster this season.

Zollinger’s first recruit was the addition of assistant coach Ryan Stock, who will also coach his first game on the sidelines for the Saints Thursday evening. Stock previously spent two seasons as the assistant coach at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Ariz.

The Saints will tip-off their season against Sterling College J.V., who Seward County has posted a 5-0 mark against since 2004-2005. In their last five meetings, the Saints have averaged nearly 100 points per game (98.6 ppg.) while Sterling is averaging just over 60 points per contest.

The Warriors have just two players on their roster that stand above 6-foot-2, while the Saints return a wealth of experience in the frontcourt with Ervin Williams (6-foot-8), Darko Cohadarevic (6-foot-9) and Bryson Hampton (6-foot-8).

Seward County has broken the century mark in seven straight openers, averaging 110 points per game in season opening contests since the 2000-2001 season.

Carl Albert State College went 7-23 a year ago, and returns four players from last season’s roster. Top returning players include Oskars Ernsteins (9.6 ppg.) and Calen Parks (6.4 ppg.). Ernsteins led the team with 65 three-point field goals and Parks was the team leader in assists averaging five assists per contest. The Vikings were dangerous from long range averaging 8.4 three-point buckets per game (252 overall), with six players making at least 17 last season.

The Broncbusters advanced to the Region VI Tournament quarterfinals last season and were led by a large sophomore class that graduated last spring. Garden City returns only 13 percent of their offense from last season led by Tyrone Flemming. Flemming, a 6-foot-7-inch wing, averaged 7.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a year ago. Flemming was Garden City’s top rebounder (game-high 11 boards) in the Broncbusters season-ending 63-54 loss, in the Region VI quarterfinals to eventual champion Coffeyville Community College last March.

PEPSI CLASSIC – MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Thursday, November 1
6 p.m. – Carl Albert State College vs. Garden City C.C.
8 p.m. – Sterling College J.V. vs. Seward County C.C.
Friday, November 2
4 p.m. – Garden City C.C. vs. Sterling College J.V.
8 p.m. – Carl Albert State College vs. Seward County C.C.
Saturday, November 3
4 p.m. – Carl Albert State College vs. Sterling College J.V.
8 p.m. – Garden City C.C. vs. Seward County C.C.