Oct 12, 2012 8:31 PM by Andrew Masuda

Mustangs tip off season preps looking to build on 18 win campaign

Fresh off an 18 win season where it ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation defensively, the Cal Poly men's basketball team opened training camp on Friday.

Fourth year head coach Joe Callero returns two starters and six letterwinners from a team that made it to the Big West Conference semifinals for the first time in five years.

"I think that we have a chance to be an even better defensive and rebounding team than we were last year. I think we were very good defensively last year. I think we were very efficient. I think we have the physical capacity to rebound at a really high major level," said Callero. Cal Poly ranked 6th in the NCAA in opponent rebounds per game (29.1) and 24th in opponent points per game (60.5).

Morro Bay High graduate and shooting guard Dylan Royer, forward Chris Eversley, point guard Jamal Johnson and small forward Chris O'Brien are four of the projected five starters.

Royer, a senior, ranked fifth among Division 1 players last season with a 46.5 percent three-point mark. He averaged 7.5 points. O'Brien has recovered from a knee injury that forced him to miss last season. He shot 80.6 percent from the free throw line and had a 1.53:1 assist to turnover ratio as a junior.

Coaches expect big things this season from Eversley, who averaged 8.1 points per game last season as a sophomore. He is expected to start at the 4 position. "I just feel that my confidence should help me pick up where I left off last year and kind of take it to the next level and our team can actually make history this year and make it to the tournament," said Eversley.

The team also welcomes in four forwards, who are true freshman, 6-8 Zach Gordon, 6-8 Joshua Hall, 6-9 Brian Bennett and Zach Allmon, a 6-7 Mission Prep graduate. "It's unbelievable. To be out there with the guys and you spend all summer working for this moment. And just the season is getting closer and closer and you can't describe how it feels," said the 6-7 Allmon, who is expected to back-up Eversley this season.

Junior guard Maliik Love was on crutches at the practice after breaking a bone in his foot last month. No timetable has been set for his return. Callero expects Reese Morgan will be in game shape in a few weeks.

The Mustangs hold the Green and Gold Intrasquad Exhibition on Saturday, October 27 in Mott Gym. They'll open the 2012-13 regular season at TCU on Friday, November 9.



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