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Big Class Hopes To Push Men's Hoop To Next Level

August 12, 2001

OLYMPIA, WA -- For the past four years, things have been status quo for The Evergreen State College men's basketball program. Four dynamite seasons from all-everything guard Trelton Spencer, four playoff appearances, and four first-round losses.

Evergreen head coach John Barbee looks to buck the trend during the 2001-02 season, as the new Geoduck class may be the most impressive during the five years basketball has roamed the tideflats.

With the Geoducks losing Spencer, a three-time NAIA All-American, to graduation, a new running-mate for senior Andre Stewart (Renton, Wash. / Shoreline CC) needed to be found. Barbee is high on NCAA Division I transfer Sam Sanders (Edmonds, Wash. / Colorado), who played two seasons for Ricardo Patton's University of Colorado squad.

Sanders saw action in seven games during his sophomore season, including a career high eight points and three rebounds in a 117-85 victory over Texas-Arlington. "Sam has a great outside shot and a capable playmaker," said Barbee. "He will definitely make a difference for us this year."

Along with Sanders, a trio of guards will battle the former Big-12 player for minutes. Two freshmen - Dennis Flynn (Tacoma, Wash. / Stadium HS) and Scott Flanagan (Broomfield, Colo. / Broomfield HS), along with transfer Devin Jones (Ogden, Utah / Western Wyoming CC), will give Barbee options in the backcourt this season.

The front line has already been bolstered without recruitment. Corey Hill (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus State CC), who redshirted during the 2000-01 season, looks to be the big-body Evergreen has been trying to find for years. The junior, who stands at 6-6 and weighs a muscular 240, has great presence in the paint and soft hands.

"Corey gives us a go-to player inside that will take advantage of every opportunity thrown his way," Barbee said. "He put in a tremendous amount of work during the last 12 months to prepare for this season and I am excited to see what he will do."

The Geoducks also signed a pair of All-NWAACC forwards that will add a scoring punch to the line-up. Mike Parker (Lakewood, Wash. / Pierce CC) and Jeremy Hulquist (Anchorage, Alaska / Edmonds CC) not only can score, but are rebounding threats, something Evergreen has struggled with year in and year out. Parker averaged 16 points and seven rebounds a night last year, with Hulquist scoring 18 points and grabbing nine boards.

Along with the six recruits, Barbee returns six returning lettermen, four of which started games last season, including Stewart, an NAIA All-American.

Evergreen begins its season in early November with a pair of games in Fairbanks, Alaska against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The Geoducks home opener is scheduled for Nov. 27 against Seattle University.