First opportunity to see UMaine Men’s basketball 8 added players this Sat. at 10:00am

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 15th, at 10:00am the UMaine Men’s Basketball Team will hold their first intra-squad scrimmage of the season at Memorial Gymnasium’s “THE PIT”.

There will be no admission charge for this intra-squad scrimmage.

This will give UMaine fans the first opportunity to see how  the 2 new incoming scholarshipped freshmen, guard 6’4″ Danny Evans,   and forward, 6’6″ Andrew Fleming from Oxford Hills, Maine compare in talent and athleticism  with last years incoming 4 freshmen Guards Issac Vann,  Lamar Harewood Ryan Bernstein and forward Devine Eke.

Also, a chance to see how the new and immediately eligible players who are 3 junior college transfers guard 6’5″  Ilker Er, 6’2″ guard Austin Howard and  5’10” guard Jaquan McKellon.

Also now eligible are 6’2″ red-shirt junior guard Wes Myers a transfer from Niagara University who had to sit out last year and 6’8″ forward/center Vincent Eze who sat out his freshmen season last year as a red-shirt compare with the graduating seniors and players that transferred out last spring.

Also, new to the program but will have to sit out as a transfer from LaSalle College is 6’5″ guard Dusan Majstorovic who played his freshmen year for former UMaine Coach Dr. John G..

Calixe, Stojilkovic played with Majstorovic at Lee Academy Prep School Team.

So there are 7 added players that are eligibile to play for Maine for the first time to go along with the  9 returnees from last years 8-22 team. Seniors 6’6″ guard/forward Garret Beal from Beals Island, Maine, 6’9″ forward Marko Pirovic, guard 6′ Troy Reid-Knight, Juniors lone full time returning starter 6’0″ point guard Aaron Calixe, and 6’1″ guard Garvey Melmed from Greenbush/Old Town, Maine, 5’11” guard CJ Ward Sophomores, guard 5’9″ Ryan Bernstein, guard 6’1″ Dennis Ashley and forward 6’7′ Ilija Stojilkovic.

The key will be can the new added players replace the 2 graduating seniors 6’9″ center Til Gloger and 6’5″ guard Shawn Lawton, along with 5 transfers, Frosh 6’5″ guard Issac Vann, Frosh 6’9″ Devine Eke, Soph guard 6′ Kevin Little, Frosh 6’2″ guard Lamar Harewood and 6’0″ Frosh guard Walter King.

Most of these players got the most playing minutes as Vann and Little, when they were healthy along with Lawton and Eke were starters along with starting returning Junior point guard Aaron Calixe and part time starter Ilija Stojillkovic and key sixth man Til Gloger.

This squad is certainly guard oriented as 12 of the 17  players are listed as guards Garret Beal is listed as a guard/forward, Marko Pirovic, Ilija Stojillkovic and Andrew Fleming are listed as forwards and Vincent Eze is listed as a forward/center on the roster page.

It will be interesting to see how they are divided into 2 teams for the intra-squad scrimmage.

This might prove to be interesting…..How about.the 8 added players vs. the returning 9 players?

This is the third of a 4 year contract for the head coach after going 3-27 and 8-22  the past two years for a 11-49 won lost record.

The pressure is certainly on the men’s program to keep up with the women’s program to turn things around just like the women’s program did during their 3rd year, after two tough losing seasons.

Then in the third year the women went over .500 and won a tournament quarter-final game. Then they finished tied for first place in the conference regular season standings and got to the finals of the conference tournament in their 4th year Under Head Coach  Barron.

With only 2 incoming freshmen (Fleming only frosh right out of high school and Evans, who is from England has had a year of post grad prep school, 3 JUCO transfers, 1 red-shirt junior transfer and with a 6’8″ red-shirt sophomore they do have post prep school or post high school experience to start with right away.

This is not a typical incoming recruiting class, it has experience, all but one player (Fleming) have either Junior College, prep school or D-1 experience.

This was an excellent recruiting maneuver as they have gotten 5 very experienced players, especially at the guard positions, who should fit very well into Maine’s style of play.

They probably will not have as many growing pains like last years incomers did, which is a very big plus. Also, Myers and Eze had a year sitting out, but practiced with the team all year so they know what the UMaine game is all about.

Hopefully all this incoming experience will help Maine get off to a good pre-season exhibition schedule and non-conference start when you add all these new incomers with the returning veterans so that they can peak come tournament time in the American East Conference Tourney.

They need to be shooting to finish at least 4th place in the final conference standings so that they can be a high seed team for the tourney for a possible tourney win..

It all really starts Saturday, October 15th at 10:00am as it should give the coaches, players and fans an idea of what to possibly expect as the season progresses.

UMaine men open their pre-season exhbition schedule with an exhibition game on Saturday, October 29th with a game with D-3 powerhouse Husson University of Bangor at the home site of the Blackbears, the Cross Insurance Center.