By Sarah-Grace Battles, Editor-in-Chief —
Looking forward, the Mocs will heavily rely on recruits and the bench after these five seniors, Johnathan Burroughs-Cook, Casey Jones, Tre’ McLean, Greg Pryor and Justin Tuoyo, finish their last season playing as Mocs.
The Mocs play the Citadel, Monday Feb. 27 for the regular season finale before playing in the SoCon Tournament in Asheville, N.C. March 3-6.
The five seniors have been nothing short of impactful on the successes of the team, but also on the men’s basketball program itself.
“They’ve put their heart and soul for two, three, four, even five years,” said Head Coach Matt McCall about the group of seniors prior to Senior Day.
Number four on the court and a Memphis native, Johnathan Burroughs-Cook or JBC as he is affectionately nicknamed, began his collegiate basketball career at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. before transferring to Southwest Tennessee Community College before finding his home at UTC. Burroughs-Cook has a current season high of 20 points Jan. 11 against the Citadel with a career high of 23 points against Georgia Nov. 13, 2015. He had a career-high five rebounds, 14 points, two assists and two steals in win over Jacksonville State Dec. 21, 2016. He also tied his career-high for rebounds with five at Mercer Jan. 14 and added ten points, four assists and three steals for a SoCon game career-high, which he tied again in home win over Samford Jan. 21.
New Orleans, La. native, Casey Jones sports number 24 on the court and has been a vital part of the men’s basketball team for his entire collegiate basketball career beginning as a starter of all 33 games his first season during the 2013-2014 year. Jones started all 32 games in the 2014-2015 season and started eight before an ankle injury in the 2015-2016 season earning a medical redshirt allowing him to come back one more year for the 2016-2017 season. Jones is the fifth Moc during the division one era to exceed 1,300 points during home loss to Mercer Feb. 25 and became seventh Moc during the DI era with 1,200 points on a 3-point shot at Mercer Jan. 14. He is the only Moc with 1,200 points, 600 rebounds and 100 steals and topped 200 assists in the home win over Western Carolina Feb. 4.
Transferring to UTC after playing under former assistant Wes Long at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., number 23 Tre’ McLean started 15 of 32 appearances in his first season during 2014-2015 and was one of two players to start all 35 games during the 2015-2016 season during which he was also first team All-SoCon named in both coaches and media polls. During the home Marshall game Dec. 6, McLean had new highs in points (35), steals (5), field goals made (11), free throws made (10) & free throws attempted (13), while tying his bests for minutes played (38) and field goals attempted (17) and he made 100th career steal on his fifth of the night. He opened the season with a 20 & 10 night at Tennessee as the second of his career with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high-tying 4 steals. His first 20 & 10 game was at ETSU Feb. 13, 2016 with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Named 2016 SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Greg Pryor, number one on the court and a Memphis native, started all 33 games at point guard his first season in 2013-2014 and has since played in 92 games for the Mocs. Pryor scored his 1,000th career point with a layup to open the scoring at Vanderbilt. He is also the eighth Moc during the DI era to top 1,200 points during home loss to Mercer Feb. 25 and had his 300th career assist in win over Jacksonville State Dec. 21. He had the team-high of 17 points at No. 6 North Carolina with a game-high-tying three steals Nov. 13, 2016. Pryor had 22 points in the Mocs loss to Arkansas State Nov. 20 while 16 of the 22 points came in final 6:34.
Holding the blocks record for the Mocs, number five, Justin Tuoyo, Lovejoy, Ga., transferred from VCU where he began his collegiate career to play in 31 of the 32 games his first season in 2014-2015. Tuoyo was the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 as well as being All-SoCon in those two years. Tuoyo is the UTC record holder for blocks in a season (104, 2014-15) and career. He recorded his 200th block in the loss to Arkansas State Nov. 20 and is the ninth SoCon player to post 200 or more. He also had a career-high of 24 points, ten rebounds and four blocks in this contest. He blocked his 250th shot in first half of the home win over UNCG Feb 2. with 19 points and nine boards. His 500th career rebound came on career-high-tying 13th rebound in the home win over the Citadel Jan. 11.
*Photos by Chattanooga Athletics
**Chuck Ester was not honored during Senior Day Saturday, Feb, 25.