The Cal Poly men’s basketball team opened its 2006-07 season with a noon practice Saturday.
Head coach Kevin Bromley returns 11 letterwinners, two transfers and a redshirt freshman from last season’s squad and welcomes one true freshman.
Returnees are highlighted by All-Big West Conference First-Team selection and senior Derek Stockalper. The wing led the team in both scoring and rebounding with 12.9 points and 6.7 boards per game.
Joining Stockalper on the wing will be fellow senior Tyler McGinn and sophomore Coby Leavitt. McGinn started 21 games last season and scored 8.1 points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds per game. Leavitt started the first seven games of the season before he was sidelined with an injury.
The team’s lone true freshman, Charles Anderson, will play the wing. Anderson averaged 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds as a senior at Bakersfield High School.
At point, Cal Poly returns two all-freshmen team selections, Trae Clark and Chaz Thomas. Clark, who was named Big West Freshman of the Year, averaged 8.3 points and 2.8 assists. Thomas checked in with 7.7 points and 3.2 assists. Also at the point will be junior Clayton Osborn, who played in 22 games and started three.
At shooting guard, junior Dawin Whiten returns. Whiten, a two-time all-conference selection, averaged 11.6 points and 2.6 rebounds and was the team’s top scorer in 2004-05 as a freshman. Adding depth at guard will be redshirt freshman Rick Higgins.
The third senior, Joe Henry, will lead the forwards and centers on the team. The 6-foot, 7-inch forward played in 27 games and started in one. Joining Henry for his second year with the team will be Titus Shelton. The 6-7 forward played the final 17 games of the season after starting the year injured. Shelton averaged 17.7 points and 7.5 rebounds at last season’s Big West Tournament.
Zach Thurow (6-9) returns for his junior season after playing in 18 games at the post position. Thurow scored 1.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last year. Also returning to the squad is junior John Manley (6-8), who is returning from an injury suffered during the 2004-05 season.
The two transfers are both post players. Dreshawn Vance (6-8) came to Cal Poly from the University of Portland while Matt Hanson (6-7) transferred from St. Cloud State. Both are juniors after redshirting last season.