The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

2023 EIU men’s basketball season preview

Easterns+mens+basketball+Head+Coach+Marty+Simmons%2C+talks+to+players+during+a+timeout+in+a+game+against+the+St.+Mary+of+the+Woods+College+Black+Horses+during+the+game+in+Lantz+Arena+Monday+afternoon.+The+Panthers+won+102-40+against+the+Black+Horses.
Rob Le Cates
Eastern’s men’s basketball Head Coach Marty Simmons, talks to players during a timeout in a game against the St. Mary of the Woods College Black Horses during the game in Lantz Arena Monday afternoon. The Panthers won 102-40 against the Black Horses.

Eastern’s men’s basketball team is looking to improve to a better record than they finished with last season.

The Panthers finished with a 9-22 overall record last season, and they finished with a 5-13 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Panthers finished last in the OVC Conference last season.

Eastern is projected to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference for the third straight year.

With the Panthers welcoming nine new players to the team with six returners from last season, here are two players Panther fans should keep an eye on:

Eastern forward, Sincere Malone (5), led the Panthers with a total of 151 rebounds last season. (File)

1. Sincere Malone:

The sophomore forward from Chicago was part of the team last season. As a freshman, Malone led the team in rebounds recording 151 rebounds for the entirety of last season. 111 of those rebounds were on the defensive side of the ball.

Malone also led in steals as he recorded 62 steals last season.

Malone finished last season with 208 total points, averaging 6.7 points a game.

Malone helped the team in the paint, and he’s on track to keep improving throughout the season while being a key player for this 2023-2024 team.

2. NaKyel Shelton:

The junior guard from Chicago transferred to Eastern this year. Shelton transferred from South Suburban Community College.

Shelton had 27 double figure scoring games throughout his time at South Suburban CC, and Shelton recorded 30 or more points in four of those games.

Before transferring to Eastern, Shelton recently earned a NJCAA Division II All-America honors spot after placing fifth in the nation in scoring, recording 23.6 points per game.

The Panthers are starting their season at the State Farm Center in Champaign as Eastern plays against the 25thranked University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Monday evening.

Eastern will return to action in Lantz Arena to play Monmouth College in their first home game of the season. The Panthers will travel for a straight four games to play Loyola Chicago (Nov. 11), Illinois State (Nov. 15), Coppin State, (Nov. 18) and Miami-Ohio (Nov. 19).

Eastern will play Coppin State and Miami-Ohio in Oxford, OH during the Miami Classic Tournament.

The Panthers will have a home game against Eureka College on Nov. 25.

The biggest non-conference matchup for the Panthers will happen on Nov. 28 as the Panthers travel to Lawrence, KS to compete against the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Panthers will have four straight home games after playing the Jayhawks: University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis (Dec. 2), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (Dec. 7), Central Arkansas (Dec. 10) and Blackburn College (Dec. 17).

The last non-conference game for the Panthers is in Ames, IA as the Panthers will compete against the Iowa State Cyclones on Dec. 21.

OVC games will start Dec. 29 for the Panthers against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). Here is a rundown of the conference schedule for the Panthers:

  • Dec. 29: SIUE (away)
  • Jan. 4: Univeristy of Tennessee-Martin (away)
  • Jan. 6: Little Rock (away)
  • Jan. 11: Morehead State (home)
  • Jan. 13: Western Illinois (home)
  • Jan. 20: Lindenwood (away)
  • Jan. 25: Tennessee Tech (home)
  • Jan. 27: Tennessee State (home)
  • Feb. 1: UT Martin (home)
  • Feb. 3: Little Rock (home)
  • Feb. 8: Southern Indiana (away)
  • Feb. 10: Morehead State (away)
  • Feb. 15: Southeast Missouri (home)
  • Feb. 17: Lindenwood (home)
  • Feb. 22: Tennessee State (away)
  • Feb. 24: Tennessee Tech (away)
  • Feb. 27: SIUE (home)
  • Feb. 29: Western Illinois (away)

The OVC Tournament starts on March 6 in Evansville, IN.

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.
Han Byer
Han Byer, Photographer
Han Byer is a senior sociology major and she can be reached at 581-2912 or at [email protected].
Selena Martinez
Selena Martinez, Photographer
Selena Martinez is a junior communication in organizations major and she can be reached at 581-2912 or at [email protected]
Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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