WILMINGTON, North Carolina – With the 2013-14 schedule finalized and fall conditioning drills in the books, the UNCW men’s basketball team officially opens fall practice Friday, Sept. 27, at Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks, 10-20 overall one year ago in Buzz Peterson’s third campaign, are restocked – both on the roster side and coaching sideline – for the new season.

In legislation approved last May, college basketball teams are allowed to practice two weeks earlier than usual. Teams can begin practice 42 days before their first game of the season, providing for up to 30 practices in the six-week period leading up to the season opener.

UNCW opens its regular season in early November with a two-game swing to the Upper Midwest to face Iowa and Iowa State on Nov. 8 and 10. The Seahawks will be practicing twice on Saturday and Sunday to kick off the first weekend.

“Every college coach is excited about starting practice and we’re looking forward to getting started,” said Peterson. “For us, we have three new assistant coaches, so we’ve had to take time during the week to go over the practice drills and way we want to play.

“(Strength and conditioning coach) Pat Murphy has done a great job in the weight room and some of the guys have really benefitted from that.”

The Seahawks will be trying to offset the loss of all-time great Keith Rendleman, who has taken his game to the professional ranks in Korea. Peterson has added four new players, including three transfers and one freshman, to go along with 11 returnees.

Meanwhile, Peterson has a full complement of players ready to go following individual workouts.

 “We’re doing something a little different this year. We’re doing to do a couple two-a-days, shooting some in the morning and coming back in the afternoon and going hard. We’re going to get our offensive work in and then have a good hour and a half of solid defensive practice.

“You miss out on a lot of shooting in the preseason because you just have two hours on the floor. You’re trying to teach skill work and development work, so shooting fades away a little bit. I’m a big believer that if you’re doing to shoot the way you want, you have to do it competitively, so we’re doing to a lot of competitive drills with our shooting.”

The Seahawks will play a pair of exhibition games against Belmont Abbey (Oct. 30) and Methodist (Nov. 3) in preparation for the regular season opener against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. UNCW’s home opener is Saturday, Nov. 16, against Wingate in a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Season tickets remain on sale daily at the UNCW Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum or by visiting UNCWsports.com.

Midnite Madness, the annual celebration to kick off the start of basketball season, will be held Friday, Oct. 4, at 9:30 p.m. at Trask Coliseum and the Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon is slated for Oct. 16 at Buffalo Wild Wings on Eastwood Road.