|Mindaugas Katelynas banks a shot over Dixie defenders last season. After a successful freshman year, Katelynas enters his second season with the Eagles as an experienced veteran. In fact, Katelynas recently signed a NCAA contract with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga after kicking off the preseason with a 15 rebound average per game.|
The College of Eastern Utah men's basketball team kicked off the preseason two weeks ago when they hosted Western Wyoming. The team was pumped up and ready to begin basketball action.
The Eagles jumped out ahead of the Spartans early on in the game and they held on to the lead until the end.
In the first half, CEU found themselves leading Wyoming 34-18. After posting 52 points in the second half, the Eagles claimed their first victory of the year by the final score 86-55 over the Spartans.
Second year man for the Eagles, Mindaugas Katelynas stepped up to lead the team in rebounding as he pulled down 12 boards. Katelynas also had five blocks and sank 7-8 field goals for a total of 16 points.
Devin Wood, a newcomer this year also posted 16 points against the Wyoming Spartans. Wood completed 6-10 field goals and shot 100 percent from the free throw line.
Wood proved that he could play both sides of the court as he completed three steals and posted two rebounds.
Rookie Derrick Turner had a strong first game with the Eagles. Turner scored 12 points and blocked two shots against the Spartans.
After kicking off the preseason with a win, the Eagles traveled to Arizona this past weekend to compete in the Scottsdale Classic. During this two day event, the Eagles played two games and successfully defeated both Arizona teams to bring their current record to 3-0.
In the first of the Eagles two games, CEU easily defeated Arizona 90-49. In this game, Katelynas stepped up to assist with the Eagles win as he pulled down 10 rebounds and posted 13 points.
Turner also assisted in the Eagles victory by posting 20 points to lead CEU in scoring. The freshman from Mississippi also pulled down eight rebounds during the Arizona game.
In the second game of the weekend, the Eagles competed against the Scottsdale Artichokes who are a highly competitive team. CEU stepped up however to easily defeat Scottsdale 71-59.
Katelynas lead the team in rebounding with 18 while scoring 15 points.
Eagles freshman Anthony Grant lead the team in scoring with 16 points. Grant also had three steals in the game and nine rebounds.
The three game winning streak makes the Eagles optimistic about the upcoming season which begins Dec. 6.
"This is a team with a 13 man rotation. Everybody on this team has stepped up and played well. This should be a great year for us," explained assistant coach Brady Trenkle.
For Katelynas, this will be the final season before he moves on to compete for the NCAA. This week, Katelynas will sign a contract to play with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga who has a strong and competitive ball club each year.
It is expected that several other Eagle athletes will sign later in the year with NCAA teams. In fact, CEU sophomore GJ Macon is a transfer athlete who comes from a strong Division 1 school in Alaska. He will add his talent to this already strong Eagle team this season.
As the Eagles prepare for the upcoming season, the team will host their annual CEU Invitational this weekend at the BDAC. Games begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening. The competition will be intense as the Eagles compete before a home crowd.