Hampton is back from a recent trip to the Bahamas, where the Pirates played three exhibition games against teams comprised of current and former college players and went 2-1.
While these overseas trips — permitted once every four years by the NCAA — are often meaningless in terms of win-loss record, they do provide 10 extra practices and a chance for players to grow in the offseason with games against real competition.
For Hampton, they got a chance to see the summer development of 6’7″ senior forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell. Maxwell averaged 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks last season for the Pirates and Hampton is hopeful entering the season after winning nine of 12 games in the MEAC before losing in the conference tournament. Hampton finished 14-17 on the year but they’re hoping that momentum from the late-season surge carries over into this season.
Dave Fairbanks from the Daily Press in Virginia broke down Maxwell’s play in the Bahamas and Hampton head coach Ed Joyner Jr sounds pleased with Maxwell’s development.
Maxwell is a spectacular athlete in transition and when the Pirates are running. But he demonstrated much more poise in half-court settings and consistently made medium-range jump shots. He averaged almost 22 points and nine rebounds in the three games.“He’s not just an athlete any more,” Joyner said. “He was very fluid on the floor in the flow of the game. Last year, he did struggle in the flow of the game, the half-court flow. If we’re running the break, it’s fine, he’s great. But in the half-court flow of the game, him being more of an athlete and not very skilled, that hurt him sometimes. But he spent the whole summer working on his total skill set, and it showed over there.”
With MEAC Rookie of the Year Deron Powers returning at point guard, Hampton has two good pieces in place if some other role players begin to form around them. The Pirates return their two leading scorers from a team that finished 11-5 in the MEAC and could compete for the conference title this season.