The Maine Men's basketball team will kick off its 2013-14 slate with an afternoon exhibition game against McGill University on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. It will be one of four contests that will be played in Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Maine. This contest is also the first of two exhibition games with the second taking place next Friday against Laval at 7 p.m.
The Black Bear exhibition matches both tomorrow and next week can be followed on live stats by clicking the link above. No video or radio streaming will be available until the Nov. 8 road contest against Rhode Island.
The Maine Men's basketball team will kick off its 2013-14 slate with an afternoon exhibition game against the McGill University on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. It will be one of four contests that will be played in Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Maine. This contest is also the first of two exhibition games with the second taking place next Friday against Laval at 7 p.m.
SCOUTING THE McGILL REDMEN
The Redmen play their fourth NCAA team of the season as they travel to Orono this weekend. McGill played Sacred Heart, Syracuse and Siena in a five-day span in August and went 1-2 against those squads. The lone win came on a last second three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in the contest as Simon Bibeau gave the team a win over the Saints. McGill's other recent success over NCAA Div.1 programs included wins over Niagara University (78-71, Sept. 3/11) and UNH (77-74, Aug. 24/11).
The team enters the contest averaging 74.6 points per game while holding their foes to 72.3. Vincent Dufort is the team's go-to point producer as he averages 13.3 points per contest while leading in assists (4.2), steals (1.6) and blocks (0.9) as well. Francois Borque leads in rebounds coming down with 7.7 per game.
McGill maintains a 5-5 overall record and is currently on a two-game losing streak dropping exhibition contests to Albert (72-63) and Queen's (86-78).
The state of Maine is well represented on both sides of the court in Saturday's exhibition. While University Maine fans are excited to the start of their Black Bear careers for Beal's Island and Washburn natives Garet Beal and Mitch Worcester, McGill sports a Maine product on its roster as well. Christian McCue, Maine's Mr. Basketball and Hampden, Maine resident will be in familiar territory as he plays just minutes from his hometown.
POLLING AMERICA EAST
In the annual America East preseason poll the Maine men's basketball team was selected eighth overall. The Black Bears finished the season with a 6-10 conference mark and an 11-19 overall record, as the squad will attempt to prove the survey wrong.
The new-look Black Bears sport some new leadership in its ranks as juniors Zarko Valjarevic and Xavier Pollard return as the most seasoned veterans on the team. Pollard returns as the team's leading point-producer form last season as he averaged just under 10 points per contest while Valjarevic played in 22 contests and started 11 for the Black Bears as he averaged 8.4 points per game.
The Black Bears welcome a new coach to the ranks as Deshon Gaither joins Maine this season. Gaither was most recently the head boy's postgraduate coach at Lee Academy in Lee, Maine. At Lee, Gaither posted a record of 52-17 as he groomed young athletes headed to collegiate programs.
Prior to his time at Lee, Gaither held various other coaching positions both in the United States and internationally. He worked with the Ontario Professional Basketball League, where he helped lead his team to a 36-0 season and the OPBA championship. Many of his former players have gone on to play in Europe.
Gaither also coached at Bryant University for Max Good. While with the Bulldogs, his squads made five-straight CAA tournament appearances, and were the 2005 NCAA Division II runners-up.
A native of South Bend, Ind., Gaither graduated from Ashford University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies with a minor in literature.
Maine has been one of the most competitive teams in the conference for the last four years. When breaking down the numbers Maine is one of only three teams currently in the America East conference to have .500-or-better winning percentage in conference games. The Black Bears have gone 32-32 in that span. The only teams to best Maine in that category are Stony Brook and Vermont who are both 49-15. Recently departed Boston University was also in that conversation with a 46-18 mark.
While the Black Bears enter the season with seven freshman competing for playing time several of those young players will lean on wealth of experience at the international experience. Marko Pirovic played for the Canadian junior team this offseason while returning sophomore Dimitry Akanda-Coronel
Akanda-Coronel played for the Cape Verdean team at the FIBA Africa Championship and averaged 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He was the squads third-leading point scorer.
Meanwhile Pirovic played for the Canadian junior team in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and helped get wins against Korea, Iran, Argentina, and Spain.