CHARLOTTE, NC (October 6, 2021) – The Claflin University Panthers got a motivational push when the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced the 2021-22 CIAA Men’s Basketball Preseason Predicted Order of Finish, Wednesday morning.  When the announcement was made, the Panthers were picked to finish seventh overall and fourth in the CIAA Southern Division.

While the Panthers did not take the court last season, the team was just 24 seconds away from the 2020 CIAA Men’s Basketball Championship game when the team last took the court.  The game was just end of a thrilling run in the tournament that saw the team take a 70-60 overtime win over Elizabeth City State before upsetting the top-seeded Virginia State Trojans in the quarterfinal round. The Panthers were posed to pull off another upset before an untimely turnover ended the Panthers’ bid for a trip to the championship game and sealed the 58-56 loss against the eventual champion Winston-Salem State Rams.

This season, the Panthers will have several newcomers to the roster. With only four returning players on the roster, the team will enter the season with a relatively clean slate. Graduate guard Donnell Frayer, Jr. is the leading returner for the Panthers as he scored 8.9 points per game last season with some breakout performances. He scored a season-high 26 points against Saint Augustine’s. He also scored 21 points against Benedict before a signature 20 points against Virginia State in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 CIAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. Also returning will be fellow graduate guard Romero Hill, Jr. He played in 30 of the team’s 31 games and he finished the season with 167 total points, and he averaged 5.6 points per game.

The Panthers will open practice on October 15th and the team will open the 2021-22 season when the team heads to Millersville, Pennsylvania to take on the Clarion Golden Eagles at the Millersville Challenge.