WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - For the past two seasons, the UNCW men's basketball team has ruled the Colonial Athletic Association, winning consecutive CAA tournament titles.
Pundits are not so bullish on the 2017 Seahawks though, picking them to finish anywhere between third and sixth in preseason polls.
Gone are all-league performers Denzel Ingram, Chris Flemmings, C.J. Bryce and former coach Kevin Keatts, so first-year UNCW head coach C.B. McGrath understands why some might look past his program.
"I get it," McGrath said. "Every year there are expectations for every program and they do that based on who's coming back, who left, who's coming in as recruits, and that's what they base it on."
For the players, it's not so easy. They feel disrespected.
"To go back-to-back and be regular season (champions) three years in a row, that's hard to do," Seahawk junior Devontae Cacok said. "It's disrespect and I think we'll use that as motivation and fuel us."
With four starters gone, senior Jordon Talley said he understands the Seahawks have work to do, but he says they're ready to prove the rest of the league wrong.
"You expect to be disrespected, but we are ready to silence the noise, do what we need to do and I know we aren't going to be a sixth seed. I'll tell you that," Talley said.