Biedenbach addition key for men’s basketball

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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While there is much intrigue surrounding the upcoming season for the UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team and the new players entering the program, the most important offseason addition for the squad lies not on the court, but on the coaching bench.

Entering his first season as an assistant coach for the Seahawks, Eddie Biedenbach brings with him a wealth of experience that will prove critical to the improvement of the team.

In 17 seasons as head coach of UNC Asheville’s men’s basketball team, Biedenbach led the Bulldogs to 256 victories and three trips to the NCAA tournament in 2003, 2011, and 2012 after winning the Big South Conference tournament championship in each of those years.

The NC State graduate also piloted the team to BSC regular season titles in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008, coaching the Bulldogs to top-four league finishes 13 times over 17 seasons on his way to becoming the winningest coach in UNCA and Big South Conference history.

Now, after stepping away from the Bulldog program, Biedenbach prepares for a new challenge in helping turn around the Seahawks.

“It’s a different kind of a challenge,” Biedenbach said. “I really like the situation here. This was a good opportunity to help [head coach] Buzz [Peterson], somebody that I know, who I know is a good coach, and I know how he’s a players’ coach, that the players like him and he’s a good guy. It’s something I wanted to do. It’s nice when you’re in the position that you can do what you want to do.”

In entering the UNCW program, Biedenbach is hopeful he can help the Seahawks improve on both sides of the ball.

UNCA finished fifth in the Big South in defensive efficiency last season, allowing 0.99 points per possession, a statistic in which UNCW has finished ninth or worse in the Colonial Athletic Association during the past three seasons.

Additionally, the Bulldogs finished second in field goal percentage and third in assists in the BSC last year, finishing 45% from the field for the season to go along with 14 assists per game as a team.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, finished eighth in both categories in the CAA in 2012-2013, with season marks of 41.7% and 11 assists per game.

While UNCW has yet to play a game this season, an exhibition contest with Belmont Abbey is set for Oct. 30, and Biedenbach is pleased with the team’s performance in practice.

“They’re good guys that like each other and work hard,” he said. “We’ve got to improve in areas, in our individual and team plays, in our effort, in our thoughts towards the game. There’s room to improve and that’s obvious because we were 10-20 last year. That will come quickly, though. I don’t think the players were happy with that outcome last year, and neither were the coaches, and we’re determined to take it where it’s supposed to go.”

In adding as many as four new key players to the team this year, along with trying to replace the production of two-time first team All-CAA performer Keith Rendleman, UNCW will have to learn on the fly if they want to remain competitive in the newly-reformed CAA.

Bringing on a coach of Eddie Biedenbach’s stature will only make the process that much easier.