UNO men’s basketball ready for start of season
October 20th, 2014
Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska at Omaha men’s basketball team has managed to endure quite a struggle over the past four years in becoming a competitive Division-I basketball team.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/1019-final.mp3]
In December 2011, UNO’s first year in the transition to D-I, the Mavs were humbled by Big Ten powerhouse Michigan State after losing a game by a crushing 42 points. Since then, the Mavericks have made significant strides in bringing their program up to Division 1 standards. UNO’s head coach Derrin Hansen said the transition has been time-consuming.
“It’s been a long four years, we are happy to be in the last year of it,” Hansen said. “But there is still a lot of work to do between now and when we are finally eligible.”
UNO made good progress last year, nearly beating Iowa, Hawaii, Minnesota and Nevada all on the road. But the Mavs ended up posting a somewhat disappointing 5-9 record in the Summit League. Coach Hansen is determined to improve on that record this year. UNO faces another tough schedule this year, including trips to Marquette, Kansas State and Lincoln. Perennial basketball powerhouse UNLV will travel to Omaha this year. The Mavericks will receive a big boost in visibility this season, as nine UNO games are scheduled to be broadcast on regional TV.
“We’re still climbing, we probably weren’t a great basketball team within our league three or four years ago, but we’ve made strides there,” Hansen said.
This year UNO looks forward to capitalizing on the talents of junior forward Jake White, who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. White transferred from Wichita State to UNO and will play forward for the Mavs this season. Hansen said White adds a lot of talent to the team in addition to all the other new players on this year’s squad.
“He had experience at Wichita State and at the Final Four, so he’s seen a lot of things nobody in our program has,” Hansen said. “I also think we are a little bit bigger, a little more versatile in some positions, so I think it will have a little more impact as we go through the league.”
Hansen noted during this final year in UNO’s transition to D-I, potential new recruits are now paying much closer attention to the Mavericks. He said UNO’s new $81 million arena, scheduled to be completed in fall of 2015, is also stimulating a lot of interest in the program.
“I think recruiting got better last year and its getter better this year,” Hansen said. “We really like where we are at. Those two things right there have made as big an impact on our program as any. But to have those two items have been very beneficial to us.”
UNO will continue to rely heavily on the skills of two seniors, guard CJ Carter and forward Mike Rostampour this season. Carter averaged a team high 13.5 points per game last year and Rostampour led the team with 7.5 rebounds per game. UNO’s first game is set for November 16 against Central Arkansas at the Ralston Arena.
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