Erickson is latest player to leave UAA men's basketball team

jpeters@adn.comSeptember 24, 2013 

The UAA men's basketball team will have a significantly different look this season, with just four players from last season's active roster returning.

UAA announced the departure of sophomore John Erickson on Tuesday, which brings the number of voluntary departures to five.

Erickson, a 6-foot-4 guard from Sisters, Ore., who was scheduled to redshirt this season, said he left for personal reasons.

"After counseling with my parents, I have determined that for my well being, I need to make a transition in my life," Erickson said in a press release from UAA. "This is not an easy decision, as I have truly enjoyed my time as a Seawolf. The experiences I have had with my coaches and teammates have been very special, and I will always consider myself a Seawolf."

Four others -- Jalen Little, Mike MacKelvie, Stephan Heard and Colin Spickerman -- also left, with Little and Spickerman both citing a wish to be closer to home.

MacKelvie, a 6-4 reserve guard, will play for Regis University in Denver, which will visit Anchorage for a noncoference game on Nov. 16. He was seeking more playing time, but UAA's backcourt is a crowded place. UAA coach Rusty Osborne said he couldn't promise MacKelvie anything.

Of the five, Little and Spickerman were the biggest contributors last season. Little, a 5-10 guard, led the Seawolves in assists with 93, and the 6-8 Spickerman notched a team-high 21 blocks.

Also gone are last season's three seniors -- Liam Gibcus, Abebe Demissie and Chris Weitzel.

The departures leave the Seawolves with just four players from last season's 18-9 team -- senior guards Kyle Fossman and Colton Lauwers, junior guard Teancum Stafford and sophomore forward Christian Leckband, who were all starters.

Fossman led the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game and Stafford was close behind with 14.2. Lauwers and Leckband each averaged more than six points per game.

The Seawolves should get a boost from the return of junior Travis Thompson, who is coming off a redshirt season. The sharpshooting Dimond High graduate two seasons ago led the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 3-point shooting percentage of 47.6 while averaging 11.8 points per game.

Soldotna's Boomer Blossom will be another face familiar to UAA fans. The 6-2 guard returns to UAA after a season with Minnesota State Community and Technical College, where he averaged 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 25 games as a sophomore. He played in 17 games for the Seawolves as a freshman.

Rounding out the 11-man roster are new recruits Brian McGill, Jacob Craft, Brad Mears, Jackson McTier and Kalidou Diouf. A 12th spot might still be available for a walk-on.

McGill is a 6-2 guard who played with GNAC rival Western Oregon during the 2011-12 season and redshirted last season. Brad Mears is a 6-9 junior transfer from Snow College in Utah, McTier is a 6-7 freshman from Australia and Douf is a 6-8 freshman from Germany.

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

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