Maine Men's Basketball Wraps Up Exhibition Season Against Laval on Friday
The Maine men's basketball team will wrap up its exhibition season tomorrow night when they take on Canadian team, Laval University, from Quebec. The Black Bears will take on the Red and Gold in Memorial Gymnasium with the tip set for 7 p.m. Live stats will be available at the link above. Maine will reintroduce its web streaming and radio call for its first regular season contest on Nov. 8 against Rhode Island.
The Black Bear exhibition contests 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.
LAST TIME OUT
The Maine Black Bears recorded their first (unofficial) win last Saturday in the team's first action of the season. Maine hosted McGill and took care of the Redmen, 83-57. While the scoring was tight in the first half the Black Bears outscored McGill 45-29 in the final frame to seal the victory.
Zarko Valjarevic led Maine in scoring as he tallied 18 total points, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and hit both of his free throws in the effort. He also recorded four rebounds.
Garet Beal, in front of a packed Beal's Island crowd, made a strong first impression on Black Bear fans as he recorded double-digit points. The former Jonesport-Beals high school standout finished his first contest with 13 points going 5-of-11 in field goals and hit both free throws he attempted, going 2-of-2.
The state of Maine is well represented for the Black Bears this season. The Black Bears sport two high school basketball stars from two different parts of Maine. Jonesport-Beals standout Garet Beal was the first Parade All-American ever recruited to Maine while Mitch Worcester from Washburn, Maine, was also a prolific high school player in his own right.
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.
WELCOME COACH GAITHER
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.
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.