Jun 21, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT
The 2013-14 season in the MEAC was dominated by North Carolina Central, as Levelle Moton’s team went 16-1 in conference play and earned its first NCAA tournament berth as a Division I member. The question for the other teams in the MEAC heading into the offseason was a simple one: how do they close the gap between themselves and the defending champion Eagles?
One team asking that question is Hampton, which finished second in the MEAC standings with a 13-4 record. But the goal for teams in small conferences is to win their league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and for the second consecutive season Edward Joyner Jr.’s team lost its MEAC tournament opener.
The good news for Hampton is that while leading scorer and rebounder Du’Vaughn Maxwell (14.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is out of eligibility, they return the other four of their top five scorers led by point guard Deron Powers (11.8 ppg, 4.0 apg). The Pirates also add four newcomers with the most recent being former Tennessee guard Quinton Chievous.
Chievous played in just nine games last season for the Volunteers, but that hasn’t kept his new head coach from thinking positively about the impact the transfer could potentially have. Joyner discussed the possibilities in a story written by David Teel of the Hampton Roads Daily Press:
“We have some good young kids coming back,” Joyner said. “We thought we were going to be good anyway. So anybody we brought in, we felt like had to have an impact right now. Or, somebody worth investing the future in. Anything in between really didn’t make sense. We felt like he would come in and make an immediate impact.”
“We think with the addition of Quinton, you can never promise a championship, but we feel like we’re right up there,” Joyner said. “We know we’re ready to compete for it, and hopefully he can help take us over the top.”
Chievous will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, and the fact that he’ll be graduating from Tennessee in three years makes him eligible to play immediately. And while he played in just 22 games in two seasons (according to the story, Chievous felt he was being used out of position and should have spent more time on the wing), a fresh start could be just what the doctor ordered for Chievous.
The last program to repeat as MEAC tournament champions was Morgan State, with the Bears winning the crown in 2009 and 2010. With Chievous joining a solid combination of returnees and newcomers, Hampton will look to make sure that remains the case.
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