Five reasons why you should go to UNCW basketball games

Cam Ellis | Assistant Sports Editor

So if you didn’t know, our basketball team had a rough offseason.

Though using the word rough doesn’t quite do it justice. Saying that UNCW had a “rough” offseason is like saying that Oprah is “kind of” wealthy.

Three of the Seahawk’s top four scorers transferred to other programs. Stellar guard Adam Smith took his talents to Virginia Tech, K.K. Simmons jetted for Kent State and Donte Morales ended up somewhere considerably less desirable-prison, to be specific-on felony drug charges.

Subtract these players, and what you’ve got left is a less than desirable roster.

It doesn’t take John Wooden to point out that you’re not going to win many games when your second-leading scorer is averaging 5.5 points a game heading into the 2012-2013 campaign.

Just in case this doesn’t impress you, here’s the kicker: The Seahawks are ineligible for post-season play this season, thanks to a less-than-impressive APR score.

It’s very plausible to think, to put it crudely, that this season doesn’t matter.

And people who think that could not be farther from the truth.

So while the Seahawks won’t spend early April cutting down the nets in the Georgia Dome (a guy can dream-whatever), that doesn’t mean this winter is all for naught. Here’s a look at 5 reasons why this basketball season not only matters, but also why you should attend the games.

1.) Keith Rendleman.

The guy is a machine. One of the nation’s best kept secrets, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him on an pro roster at some point. The First Team CAA forward is a phenomenal talent, averaging 15 ppg and 10 rpg during the 2011-12 season. Courted by many (and more talented) schools last summer, Rendleman decided to stay in Wilmington for his final year. When asked why he decided to stay, Rendleman cited his love of the city and its fans, a testament to the kind of person he is. If his on-court talent isn’t enough to attract fans, his passion for the community should be.

2.) Trask Coliseum.

 Trask is another hidden gem that makes UNCW basketball secretly attractive. During the summer of 2011, Trask underwent a $2 million renovation, funded completely by individual and corporate donors. Permanent scoreboards on both ends of the court and close to 800 new seats are just some of the changes that have made Trask one of the nicer places to catch a game. Then there is the new jumbotron-emphasis on the “jumbo.” The crown jewel of Wilmington, the giant screen that hangs from the ceiling gives fans the sense that the program is for real, even when it may not be.

3.) Anonymity.

After Rendelman, the rest of the UNCW hoops squad is a mystery. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the roster, and call me crazy, but I love it. There is a very seductive aspect to not knowing a single thing about the players. What if there is a diamond in the rough? Someone on this team is going to be good, and as of today, no one knows who it’s going to be. That’s a perfect setup for a feel-good “came out of nowhere” story. That’s what is going to make this basketball team so likeable. Big name schools may have big name talent, but at UNCW, you could be doing homework right beside the next star of the CAA and not even know it. It might be a stretch, but it’s an interesting one.

4.) It’s the one true sport that UNCW rallies behind.

Ever look at UNCW brochures? In literally every section that talks about school spirit, the pictures are always taken at basketball games. That’s because basketball is the only sport that can muster enough interest to make UNCW fans take notice. If you are a student disappointed by the lack of spirit, look no further than the basketball games. While it may not be the thousands of screaming, intoxicated fans you see on ESPN, one can find a passionate fan section easily. Trask has the distinct ability of putting the fans right on the court, very similar to how Cameron Indoor is set up. A full student section gives the arena the sense of a packed crowd, even when there isn’t one. It can be a great atmosphere, and the best place to find that college vibe that so many come here looking for.

5.) Promotions.

While a bit tongue and cheek, there is some truth to this, so hear me out. We all know that the real reason we go to college is for free t-shirts. There is nothing more telling of college success than the amount of free tee shirts you get. They are the driving force behind all that is good in college, and UNCW basketball games have them. We have attractive girls throwing them to us, mascots throwing them to us; we even have our own t-shirt cannon.

So there you are, UNCW, five good reasons why you should check out some games this winter. The team opens the season in an exhibition against North Carolina Wesleyan on Saturday.

Who knows, you might even get a free t-shirt.