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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

August 28th, 2006


ETSU Head Coach Murry Bartow


Heading into his fourth year at East Tennessee State, Murry Bartow might be facing his toughest head coaching challenge yet.  ETSU lost three seniors that combined for 44.5 points per game, including Tim Smith, the little guard that finished as the school's all-time leading scorer.




Shawn Siegel (CHN): How hard will it be to deal with the graduation of star Tim Smith as well as two other solid seniors?


Murry Bartow (MB):  Our three seniors were very important players and huge contributors. We need some of our freshmen to step in and play from day one. Courtney Pigram is ready to take a huge step forward and a healthy Kenyona Swader will make a big difference.



CHN: What do you expect the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s team to be?

MB: Our strength's will include the play of sophomore Courtney Pigram, who was an All-Freshman team selection a year ago in the A-Sun. The experience of Travis Strong and Brad Nuckles should also be important -- two players who have played in the NCAA Tournament. Our weaknesses will include the loss of Tim Smith, Dillion Sneed and Ben Rhoda, three players who were key contributors a year ago. Smith left our program as our all-time leading scorer with 2,600 points. We also need to defend better this year.



CHN: Talk about a player on your team that deserves more credit for being an unheralded contributor?


MB: Dante Williams is a player who did not see a lot of playing time as a freshman, but he has a great work ethic and will continue to get better and better.



CHN: What should we expect out of the incoming players. Who will make the biggest impact?

MB:  We wil have five incoming freshman and really you never know about their impact until they get here. We do expect great things from Dequan Twilley at the point, Mike Smith at the three, and Petras Balocka inside.



CHN: Talk about which coaches really helped you reach the level of success you’re at today? Do you still keep in touch with them?

MB:  My father Gene Bartow has had the biggest influence on me, and my time coaching for Bob Knight was invaluable.


Realistically, what are your goals for the coming season?


MB:  Our goals for this year will be to improve defensively and to win the A-Sun Championship.



CHN: Thanks coach.  Good luck.


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