Off-Season Offerings: Men's Basketball Hits Court With First Official Practice
ORONO, Maine – The 2013-14 edition of the Maine men's basketball team hit the floor for its first official practice on Friday afternoon as the team kicked off the 2013-14 season.
"It's definitely an exciting day for us," said junior forward Zarko Valjarevic. "The first official practice came earlier this year but I think that's a good thing because it gives us more time to prepare for our season. We've got a lot of new guys so we need to work with them, show them the system."
The Black Bears got an opportunity to get to work earlier than in years past and with seven incoming freshman and one redshirt freshman, the team will benefit from the increase in practice time.
"I think these are great kids and I think chemistry has never better than this year," said Valjarevic. "That's a big thing in college basketball, guys are coming into the gym, getting their work in and I think it's going to be a great season for us."
The Black Bear coaching staff also got a chance to see their first year players mesh with the returners, as well as mixing guard and forward play for the first time. Freshman Troy Reid-Knight, was excited about that aspect of his first official practice.
"Its an incredible feeling starting to learn the new offense," said Reid-Knight. "Guys are getting to play together like the bigs and guards, which we haven't been able to do yet, so I'm expecting a great practice."
With the flux of new talent, the freshmen understand that they will play an integral role in 2013-14 and beyond.
"It's a great group, we hang out with each other everyday and because we have six new freshman we're ready to put work in for the years to come," said Reid-Knight. "We're trying to work as hard as the upperclassmen and compete with them so we can continue to grow as a team."
The Black Bears will host an open practice tomorrow morning from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Balance Student Recreation Center on the UMaine campus. Fans are encouraged to get a glimpse at the 2013-14 Maine men's basketball team.