By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Mountaineers went through some difficult stretches last season, but that really wasn’t all the surprising.
With a roster made up of almost entirely freshman, Berea College coach John Hemenway knew the 2011-2012 season would be a challenge.
“We were put in a situation where we didn’t have a lot of returning experience,” Hemenway said. “We had three seniors, but only one was recruited here to play basketball. We had only one junior and one sophomore and neither really played much. We were just really young, really immature and really inconsistent.”
Berea won just one game before Thanksgiving — and that was the result of a forfeit.
Still, the Mountaineers won 10 of their final 22 games and most of that talented, and now battle-tested, freshman class is back.
Berea College’s seven freshman accounted for 73 percent of the team’s scoring last season and also played 74 percent of the team’s minutes.
Freshman finished as the team’s top three scorers.
Point guard Harry Cross averaged 14.5 points a game, hit a team-best 43 three-pointers and had 112 assists.
“He started every game for us last year and was first-team all-conference as a freshman,” Hemenway said of Cross.
Aaron Ponder, a Berea native and Madison Southern graduate, averaged 10 points a game and Tevin Webster, a Campbellsville native, averaged 9.5 points a game last season.
Sophomores Kairo Cannon, Dominique Garmon, Rashad Hayden and Koty Riley are also back.
Berea also added three transfers — Deon Banks (6-foot-5 junior), Trent Maddox (6-foot-4 junior) and London Moore (6-foot-4).
Banks and Maddox were at Sinclair Community College last season. Moore, a native of Radcliff, was attending the University of Kentucky, but was not on an athletic scholarship and will have freshman eligibility this season.
“Moore and Maddox have a chance to be our two best players,” Hemenway said. “They are both 6-foot-4 and multidimensional. They can play all over the floor.”
The Mountaineers will also have back senior Lathan Bennett (Cleveland) and junior Bryce Carlton (Warsaw).
Berea also added five freshmen, all of which are in-state players. Anthony Myrks (Bardstown) was the Region 5 Player of the year last season and Ryan Schnellenberger (Shepherdsville, Bullitt Central) led the state in three-point shooting last year.
Other new additions include: Seth Beckham (Lexington), Tyler Huff (Louisville) and Lukas Carman (Casey County).
“We are much deeper. We are much more experienced,” Hemenway said. “We are longer and we are more athletic.”
The Mountaineers were picked fourth in the KIAC preseason poll.
They will begin the season Friday (6 p.m.) against Mid-Continent University at the Asbury Tip-off Classic in Wilmore. Berea is set to take on Johnson University (2 p.m.) on Saturday.