Head Coach
Blake Mellinger

Blake Mellinger enters his sixth year at the helm of the UVa-Wise men's basketball program for the 2018-19 season. After doubling the team’s win total for the three consecutive seasons, Coach Mellinger guided the Cavaliers to their best record of the past five years with a 14-16 overall mark and an 11-11 record in the Mountain East Conference last season.

The 2017-18 campaign saw major victories and accolades as UVa-Wise defeated three of the league’s top four teams inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center. Under Mellinger’s tutelage, forward Taiwo Badmus completed an outstanding career as a Cavalier, scoring his 1,000th point in a 25-point comeback win at home against Glenville State. Badmus currently ranks 14th on the UVa-Wise men’s basketball all-time scoring list, collecting 1,265 points in two seasons with UVa-Wise. History was made last season for point guard Michal Seals as he scored his first career triple-double at home as he posted 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Seal’s triple-double was the second in David J. Prior Convocation Center history.

The Cavaliers advanced to the Mountain East Conference Tournament last season with a first-round victory against Glenville State. The win marked the first time the men’s basketball program had won a conference tournament game since 2010.

During the 2016-17 season, Mellinger led UVa-Wise to nine victories for the most wins in a season since the Cavs’ 2013-14 campaign. For the second-straight year, Mellinger steered UVa-Wise to an upset of a nationally ranked opponent inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center as the Cavs took down No. 18 Wheeling Jesuit University 83-81 on Feb. 9, 2016. The win came a season after UVa-Wise upset then 14th-ranked King University on Dec. 20, 2015.

Mellinger has developed three all-conference forwards during his time as head coach starting with All-Mountain East Conference First Team selection Deon Boyce in 2014. Matt Day claimed All-MEC Second Team honors in 2016 before recently graduated Cavalier forward Taiwo Badmus (London, England) was named to the All-MEC Second Team in 2017 and the All-MEC First Team in 2018. Boyce, Day, and Badmus each averaged double-doubles in scoring and rebounding their senior seasons as Boyce led the nation in rebounding his final year as a Cavalier. Day completed his career ranking sixth on UVa-Wise’s all-time scoring list with 1,627 total points and holds the school record for most points scored in a single game (49). Badmus averaged a double-double during his junior year in 2016-17 after transferring to UVa-Wise from Fairmont State and finished his career averaging a double-double of 21.9 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Assistant Coach
Davis Absher

Head coach Blake Mellinger and the UVa-Wise men’s basketball program announced the addition of Davis Absher to the Cavaliers’ staff for the 2016-17 season in September. Absher, who is the brother of fellow men’s basketball assistant coach and women’s golf head coach Drew Absher, serves as an assistant coach for the team.

A recent graduate of NCAA Division III member Averett University in Danville, Virginia, Absher came to the College after serving as a basketball camp coach in the summer of 2016 at both Duke University and UVa-Wise. Hailing from Mocksville, North Carolina, Absher was a member of the Averett Cougars basketball team where he helped the team to the 2015 USA South Athletic Conference regular season title in 2015. Absher also aided the team in claiming USA South Sportsmanship and Team Service Awards during his four years at Averett. His senior year, Absher was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was invited to join the National Society of Leadership Success.

Off the court, Absher has been involved with several community service projects including volunteering his time at Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Goodwill. Davis was a four-year letter winner at Davie County High School in North Carolina where he was team captain as a senior and named CPC All-Conference. Absher helped lead Davie County H.S. to a 4A Midwest Sectional championship in addition to a 4A Final Four appearance.

Assistant Coach
Wykevin Bazemore

UVa-Wise men's basketball Head Coach Blake Mellinger announced the addition of Wykevin Bazemore to the coaching staff as an assistant coach Sunday afternoon.

"Wykevin brings a high level of on-the-court experience and success to our program," said Mellinger. "His playing career speaks for itself. He is a leader, a teammate, a worker, and a winner."

Bazemore comes to the college after most recently serving as an assistant men's varsity coach at Southern Alamance High School. In this role Bazemore assisted the head coach with breaking down statistics and game film as well as aiding in the preparation of games.

Prior to his time at Southern Alamance High School, Bazemore spent a season playing professionally overseas in Leon, Spain where he led the league in scoring and rebounding averaging 23.9 points and nine rebounds.

Bazemore earned his degree in sociology in 2015 from Winston-Salem State University where he was a four-year starter on the men's basketball team and a three-year team captain. Named to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) All-Conference team each season of his career, Bazemore became one of four players in CIAA conference history to earn all-conference recognition for four consecutive seasons.

During his time at WSSU, Bazemore was also a four-time BoxToRow All-American selection and a starter on the 2011-12 CIAA Tournament championship team as well as being named CIAA Freshman of the Year that season. He appeared in three conference tournament championships as a Ram and was recognized as the National Black College Freshman of the Year in 2012.

Bazemore completed his career notching 1,337 points and recording 984 rebounds and currently ranks third in WSSU history in career rebounds.

"I expect that he will be equally successful as a member of our coaching staff," added Mellinger. "He will play an integral part in helping us continue to move our program forward."

Bazemore is the brother of Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kent Bazemore and is currently pursuing his master's degree in Information Technology from Strayer University.