Freshmen are the future. There's no doubt about that.
For Wofford, the cultivation of underclassmen and their integration into the program are even more important; in fact, that's a crucial step in preserving the character and charge of this program, who both embraces and exemplifies the "WoCo 3D" fundamentals of discipline, dedication, and determination.
"We feel like if we have those three things in everything we do, whether on or off the court," assistant coach Tim Johnson said prior to the season, "we will have the opportunity to be successful."
This year, the Terriers were blessed with the arrival of four newcomers, including Cameron Jackson, Larry McKnight, Jr., Derrick Brooks, and Bobby Perez.
With a little over five minutes to go in the first half of Wofford's Tuesday morning tilt with Iona, Jackson, a 6-7 power forward out of Winchester, Va., scored his first collegiate points by sinking two free throws. Less than a minute later, he scored his first from the field.
The Terriers played Jackson and Derrick Brooks early in the season opening setback to Stanford (11/14), further showing how committed the program is to integrating them into the system as soon as possible, giving them valuable experience and playing time.
"From getting extra shots up on days off to being extremely coachable, I think they [Wofford freshmen] all have the DNA to be impact players much sooner than later," Johnson said.
Wofford dispatched the Gaels, who were selected as the MAAC's preseason favorite, in a nationally-televised contest with a 7:00 A.M. tipoff on Tuesday morning. While shooting 53.6% from the floor and 52.9% from behind the three-point arc, Wofford, led by Karl Cochran's twenty points, did not allow a three-point deficit at the half to faze them. They outscored the Gaels 47-31 in the second half, cementing an 86-73 victory in front of a packed Benjamin Johnson Arena.
On the night before this high-scoring affair, the college announced plans for a new 92,000-square-foot indoor stadium that would house home basketball and volleyball games. Construction of this facility, estimated to be completed in 2017, will be funded by 1959 Wofford graduate and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
"This new facility will help propel the Wofford athletics program to new heights," head coach Mike Young said with the announcement. This is the general attitude of many towards this exciting news, which will undoubtedly aid the program's recruiting game.
And when those recruits end up donning the Terrier uniform, you know they'll be brought up right in this program. I'll close with Thom Henson's words to students celebrating last year's victory over Western Carolina in the SoCon final: "Hey, you go to a basketball school."