The Rams will open their 105th basketball season on Friday, Nov. 14, when they host Columbia University in the Rose Hill Gym, the first of seven non-conference games slated for the historic venue.
Eight of Fordham’s 2008-2009 Atlantic 10 opponents saw postseason action last year with four teams appearing in the NCAA Tournament: Xavier, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova. Three other 2008-2009 conference foes received bids to the NIT—Charlotte, Massachusetts and Rhode Island—and another, Richmond, appeared in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.
Junior guard Brenton Butler, the Rams’ lone returning starter, will lead the 2008-2009 team after averaging 11 points per game last winter, a mark that was third best on the squad. Other returnees joining Butler in the backcourt include junior Herb Tanner and sophomore Mike Moore.
Up front, the Rams will look to seniors Luke Devine, who appeared in 10 games last year, and Chris Bethel, who averaged 3.1 points per game over 11 games. The Rams’ frontcourt will be bolstered by forward Jacob Green, a transfer from West Virginia University who will be eligible to play in December.
Before the first shot is made, the basketball program will inaugurate the season with its traditional Tip-Off Dinner on Monday, Nov. 3, at the Roosevelt Hotel.
Head coach Dereck Whittenburg and team will honor former player Michael Fitzgerald, FCRH ’65, a Rams forward from 1962-1965, and present the Michael J. Armstrong Award for spirit, loyalty and friendship. In addition, guest speaker Morgan Wootten will share the story of his legendary coaching career.
Wootten, the Hall of Fame coach from DeMatha High School, posted a remarkable 1,274-192 record over 46 years, recording the highest winning percentage (.869) of any coach with more than 500 wins in the history of organized sport. Among his numerous high school All-Americans was Whittenburg, who played for Wootten from 1976-79, leading the 1978 team to a national championship.