Both the UND men’s and women’s basketball teams have begun practice and the Herald caught up with both coaches and touched on the men’s team here and the women’s team two weeks back.
From the men’s team:
- UND returns four starters from a year ago — all juniors in Aaron Anderson, Jamal Webb, Troy Huff and Brandon Brekke. That’s got to be the most experienced lineup in the Big Sky, game-time wise.
- Expect Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash to join those four in the starting lineup if the NCAA clears his eligibility. Nash is a lanky athlete who can cause mismatch problems on offense and cover a variety of style of players on defense.
- If the NCAA doesn’t clear Nash’s eligibility, the NCAA messed up. Again. (The team expects to find out in the next two weeks)
- UND coach Brian Jones says Nash is his team’s most athletic player outside of Huff.
- Spencer Goodman and Nick Haugen, juniors last year, are no longer with the team. Haugen saw his minutes sliced the last two seasons, while Goodman had a tough time staying healthy his entire career. Both players could shoot the ball from the outside. Their absence leaves more shots for Josh Schuler, who has also been streaky in his time at UND.
- Also don’t be surprised if redshirt freshman Shane Benton battles into the starting lineup. He’s a little undersized, but the coaches like his tenacity.
- Jones says he’s been impressed with junior-college transfers Ryan Salmonson and Alonzo Traylor. Both can run the floor, which is key as UND will essentially start two point guards with Anderson and Webb.
- UND has two unfamiliar names on its roster. Dustin Hobaugh is a transfer from Houston Baptist and will sit out this season due to transfer rules. Thomas Blake is a walk-on player from Maryland, who Jones said had family going to UND and Jones is still learning about.
On the women’s side
- Travis Brewster has begun his tenure as head coach at North Dakota after the retirement of veteran Gene Roebuck. He’s also got some new faces on the assistant staff.
- Brewster said he doesn’t expect any major impacts from true freshman, although I would expect Josie Dillon to see minutes as the season progresses. Brewster also mentioned Mia Loyd as a possible freshman who would see action.
- Brewster said sophomore point guard Bri Williams has been a more vocal leader to start 2012, and he was impressed with the offseason of Carly Rothfusz.
- Recruiting period signee Emma Weinreich hasn’t joined the program. She appears headed to Lake Region State College. If her plans include to attend UND after her time at LRSC, she’ll have to graduate from the junior college first, per a new NCAA rule.
- Brewster said he predicts a breakout year for junior Megan Lauck, who had breakout moments as a freshman but was in and out of the lineup as as sophomore.
Check back for more on both teams as the season approaches, especially around Oct. 24 — UND basketball media day for both teams.