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2013-14 Men's Hoops Outlook: Wings

November 6, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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John Caleb Sanders

As the Liberty men's basketball team prepares for its Nov. 8 season opener versus Randolph, LibertyFlames.com will provide a four-part preview of the 2013-14 season. Today's article provides a look at the Flames' shooting guards and small forwards.

John Caleb Sanders enters his senior season with a chance to hold a prominent place among the program's all-time leading scorers.

In the Flames' NCAA First Four contest, Sanders finished with 21 points to become Liberty's 23rd member of the 1,000-point club. The senior is currently 22nd on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,008 points.

As he approaches his final season, Sanders will be looking to get healthy at the start of the year. Of course, Sanders is no stranger to battling injuries. During the Flames' Big South Championship run, Sanders suffered a sprained ankle in Liberty's semifinal matchup against Gardner-Webb. Heading into the finals with Charleston Southern, the shooting guard was unable to get a wink of sleep due to the pain. Despite the lack of rest, Sanders received the starting nod against the Buccaneers, tying his career high with a 27-point performance en route to the 87-76 victory.

"John Caleb is coming off ankle surgery in the offseason, but was a terrific leader and scorer last year," Layer said. "I think the second half of the year, we saw John Caleb evolve into the player we all thought he'd be as a playmaker, scorer and defender. He's turning into an all-around player rather than the jump shooter he was the first couple of years."

Along with Sanders, Casey Roberts returns to the Flames' lineup after averaging 5.4 ppg, last season. A walk-on in 2012-13, Roberts proved to be a valuable asset to the Flames, providing the team with a scoring boost, when necessary. The Maryland native finished third behind Marshall and Sanders in three-point field goals with 39.

Speaking of three-point shooting, junior guard Chad Donley and redshirt sophomore Ethan Layer are also expected to provide the Flames with firepower behind the three-point arc. Layer, the son of head coach Dale Layer, looks to showcase his improved shooting ability after coming off a redshirt year and summer basketball tour in Europe.

Another Liberty player who gained valuable playing experience in Europe this summer was Tomasz Gielo. A member of the Polish national team during the 2013 FIBA European Championship, Gielo averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in Division B play. In each of his first two seasons at Liberty, the forward has missed playing time due to injuries. Layer hopes the Polish player can put together a complete season in 2013-14.

Along with Ethan Layer, guard/forward Wesley Alcegaire also redshirted, last season. According to head coach Dale Layer, the Miami, Fla., native has "improved in every way" and should provide depth to the Flames' lineup.
Ryan Kemrite, a homeschool product from Conroe, Texas, is also expected to bring depth to the small forward position. As a member of the SATCH Mavericks, Kemrite recorded 3,771 career points, setting a program record.