My undeniable man crush on Rylan Murry

Don’t make it weird…I just hope to not get a restraining order…

Growing up in Omaha, I grew up on Creighton basketball, but the love for Creighton has died…don’t worry I’m going to get to the reasons on this another day.  Let it be known, I still respect the Creighton basketball program itself…

Anyway, Kyle Korver was my favorite.  Something about players from Iowa always got me.  Both of my parents are Iowa born, so maybe it’s just something I’m genetically predisposed to.  Honestly, I hope that’s the only thing I’ve inherited through Iowan genes.  Korver wasn’t just a shooter with great hair, he was a leader, and he was clutch.  He wasn’t someone to just hang out behind the arch and wait for the pass to come to him, he moved (and still moves) so well without the ball.  In 2003, the Bluejays won the Missouri Valley Conference championship game behind Korver who had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists.  So yeah, he wasn’t just a shooter.

Sure there was Terrell Taylor and Rodney Buford as big names for the Bluejays in the late 90s and early 2000s, but no one stuck out like Korver.  He got the ball rolling for the Bluejays to get national attention. His ridiculously good shooting got the Jays on the ESPN highlight reels, posters still hang of him in the CenturyLink Center, an arena he never even played in.  His Creighton team his junior year, literally had no seniors, they won the Missouri Valley, and Korver (and Taylor) led the Bluejays to a double overtime win over freaking Florida.

I met Kyle Korver once.  My wife and I moved to Ogden, Utah and shortly after we heard about a dodgeball tournament put on by former Jazz players Deron Williams, Korver, Wesley Matthews, and someone else I do not recall.  My wife and I showed up just in time for the autograph line.  We got in line, and I was like, we’re actually going to get to meet Kyle Korver?  I thought we were just going to watch them play dodgeball, not actually meet these guys.  So we’re in line for like 20-30 minutes.  I see Korver’s wife, his brother Klayton, who people joke looks like Tom Brady, and also I think I was the only one in the entire place who knew Klayton Korver was a former Drake Bulldog.  Anyway, my wife and I pass Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams, who cares about them?  Korver is last, he sees my Creighton shirt, and I am speechless.  It’s Kyle freaking Korver.  He tries to make small talk, but I’m too weird.  I just stand there like Garth Algar meeting Alice Cooper.  After a minute, Korver is pretty weirded out I think and just pulls out a photograph of himself and autographs it.  My wife asks if we could get a picture, that picture doesn’t happen without my wife there, if she wasn’t there I probably would’ve just walked off in shock.  I have that autographed photo framed, with the dodgeball bracelet to show off that I was there.  I think my wife is worried sometimes about how much I like Kyle Korver.  Like when the Hawks are on, which is basically never, and she tries to talk to me and I can barely hold a conversation.  Kyle Korver is on tv, he’s going to do something, everyone shut up.

Anyway, my wife and I move back from Utah after a while, we moved back in March.  I’m checking up on the Mavericks recruiting, there was very little out there on what they were doing.  Many of the recruiting sites still didn’t recognize them as a division one team yet.  At first, I thought maybe Mitchell Farr might turn out to be a good player, but he leaves after his freshman year.  I don’t remember fully what all the stats were, but I remember looking at his stats and compared what he did against UNO’s D-1 opponents versus non-D-1 opponents.  He shot like 25% from the floor against D-1 opponents and even worse from behind the arch.  CJ Carter had pretty decent stats as a freshman, so I was feeling alright about him, but still overall I wasn’t too sure what the Mavericks were doing for recruiting.  I was worried that they may never get anyone good, and especially no one decent with some height.  I think I was living in fear that in 2015-2016 the Mavs center would be 6’2″.  They’d be one hella good Intramurals team.

There wasn’t much out there on their first full recruiting class as far as highlight reels or news articles.  When one of my friends asked what I thought the Mavericks would do, if they would ever be good, I was like – well hopefully we can pick up some transfers from Missouri Valley schools, bigger conferences, and maybe we’ll start getting all those deadly three point shooters from Iowa that not a lot of people recruit too heavily.  They’ll be okay in a few years I think.

I actually don’t pay that much attention to recruiting sites, I think they’re pretty dumb.  Seems most of it is based on athleticism and, per Tom Osborne, who these players’ parents can get to write articles about them.  Five stars, 3 stars, who gives a crap?  Was Doug McDermott really a 3 star athlete?  How about Damien Lillard, was he only worth 2 stars?  Blake Griffin was the 6th rated power forward coming out of high school.  I think the top 10 players are pretty accurate, but then after that it becomes a bit of a guessing game.  I was watching an old Big East game a few years ago between Syracuse and Georgetown, everyone on the court was a 4 or 5 star athlete and the game was nothing but banked threes, missed dunks, and turnovers.  Great game.

So in August of 2012, I’m checking the Omaha World Herald and there is an article on UNO’s newest basketball recruit named Rylan Murry.  The article lists him as a 6’8″ stretch four from some place called West Branch, Iowa…which I assume is a made up place.  He is compared to Alex Welhouse, who at the time was believed to be UNO’s best returning player.  I watch his highlight reels, yeah he can totally hit the 3.  I think to myself is he UNO’s version of Korver, is this the stretch 4 from small town Iowa I was thinking UNO could finally get some day, someone to bring attention to UNO?  I’ve learned not to compare players like that.  Everyone in Omaha wanted to compare Kaleb Korver to his older brother, they weren’t the same player, not even the same position, but everyone hoped for Kyle 2.0.  I went to the UNO-UMKC game in Kansas City in 2013 when the youngest Korver, Kirk, played for UMKC.  Kirk made a free throw and an Omaha fan shouts out “you’re still not as good as your brother.”  Kirk Korver’s facial expression changed instantly, you could tell he was negatively affected by it, he wanted to jack up threes after that to show that fan wrong, but he couldn’t do it.

I don’t want to claim that Rylan Murry will be the UNO Korver, but I admit I was hopeful for it at first.  Let me just throw this out there:

Kyle Korver’s first 9 games played at Creighton-

52 points (5.8 ppg), 21 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, 38% from the field, 11 threes, 31% on threes

Rylan Murry’s first 9 games played at UNO-

65 points (7.2 ppg), 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 54% from the field, 11 threes, 46% on threes

So let’s just say there is a chance to build on the resume….Also in a stats class at UNO I learned how to compare athletes at different levels and see what their comparable worth was.  I thought to myself, I’d never need that to work in Marketing, no sense in keeping this skill in my head.

Anyway, I started looking at Murry’s highlight reels, and I’m thinking this guy can play, this could be UNO’s first legitimate D-1 recruit, but what does that mean?  Keep in mind, at this time, I didn’t know if we should classify CJ Carter as a D-1 recruit because he didn’t have any other D-1 offers (though I’ve heard many rumors that he had an offer to Wichita State), Marcus Tyus had yet to play a game and didn’t have any other D-1 offers reported on the interwebs, Justin Simmons and Alex Phillips had also yet to play a game, but they were only going to be at UNO for 2 seasons.  Murry picked UNO over Central Michigan and South Dakota, so it was like, someone actually picked UNO over someone else.  It was a new feeling for sure.

Then it turns out he is selected All-State in Iowa.  I think there is more merit being all-state in Iowa in basketball as compared to Nebraska.  It’s a bigger talent pool in Iowa for basketball.  Not saying that guys like Josh Dotzler, Antoine Young, Akoy Agau, Tre’Shawn Thurman, or Khyri Thomas would never be able to be All State in Iowa, they certainly would be.  Historically Iowa’s high school talent pool is filled with:  Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Doug McDermott, Harrison Barnes, Kyle Korver, Ricky Davis, Fred Hoiberg, and Raef LaFrentz.  Nebraska’s is basically just Erick Strickl and Bob Boozer.  Boozer, Omaha named a street after Bob Boozer, the most worthless street in the entire city.  My wife was a D-1 softball player at Belmont, she is from the Pacific Northwest, basically a mecca for softball recruiting.  Some of the girls on Belmont’s roster were All State in softball in Tennessee and she claimed that those girls wouldn’t have been on the JV team at her high school.  I don’t really know where I was going with this, I think I just wanted to brag about my wife.  Something about states having bigger talent pools…

At this point, I started following all of UNO’s potential recruits on twitter to see if they would say anything about where they would go to college.  I quickly learned to not do that.  Aside from it being slightly creepy, do you you know what high school dudes talk about?  They talk about stuff that a guy in his mid-20s doesn’t care about.  Math is stupid, girls don’t get you, we get that you go to the gym, and yes Kevin Durant is freaking sweet but thanks for filling us in.  Rylan Murry is tweeting sarcastic insults at people he knows, how good at golf he is, pokemon is cool (haha), constant video gaming, and claiming he is a hipster.  A hipster basketball player?  Is this the world’s first?  I don’t know how true of a hipster you can be AND be a division one athlete, but it kind of makes sense for Murry I suppose.  When he’s on the court the other Mavs are playing to the rhythm of Eminem’s “The Way I am,” and Murry is asking if they can turn it to “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, or any one of the 25 different artists that have done that song.  Is The Way I am still cool?  I’m not into rap.  

Part of me is surprised that Murry didn’t try and stay in Seattle when the Mavs played there.  The Pacific Northwest is a hipster’s paradise.  My work has an office in downtown Portland, and I was walking to work while I was there and I walked by a camp gear shop in which ALL the camp gear was designed in plaid.  If that’s not hipster, I’m not sure if I have the correct definition of hipster.  I have hipster friends, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to run into Murry at Legend’s comic book/coffee shop near UNO’s campus trading pokemon cards and trying to get in on the next Dungeons and Dragons contest.  This may sound like I’m making fun of Rylan Murry, but I’m not, I think it’s bad ass.

When the 2013-2014 season started, I see that Murry wasn’t going to be playing.  Okay, makes sense, lets have him for three years of eligibility instead of just two years, I was thinking.  We’ve got Karhoff, Hagerbaumer, Rostampour, and Krych to weather this storm of ineligibility.  I’d watch his shots in warm ups and could see he could clearly shoot, handle the ball a little even.  We’ll have that 6’7″ kid from Iowa next year who can shoot the three, that should help.

At the start of the 2014-2015 season, I see Rylan Murry sitting toward the end of the bench.  I felt like I was shot down, like, oh maybe he is a bust.  I’m wrong, what the hell do I know about anything in this crazy world…I went all hipster.  I’ve realized it too, I’ve paid so much attention to Rylan Murry that I’ve become the world’s worst uncle.  Murry finally gets on the court and my friend instantly says, “who is this kid, he looks goofy.”  Yeah, he kind of sticks out, like maybe he’s the team’s accountant, cashier, or they picked him up from the mail room.  I become defensive, like I am actually this kid’s relative, just watch man, he’ll do something cool, like that little Asian guy sitting in the corner of the mafia brawl.  That’s a Simpsons reference.  When Tre’Shawn Thurman committed to UNO, I instantly wondered if he and Rylan Murry would get along, that’s how odd I’ve become.

By the way, have you ever seen that old SNL sketch with Martin Lawrence as the 12th man for the New Jersey Nets?  I think I’m one of six people that have seen it and remember it.  He’s at the end of the bench and he’s talking about how he never gets in, he has a portable television that he watches other games on, eats a bucket of fried chicken, and tries to talk to the new 11th man on how to deal with the end of the bench.  I was hoping that’s not what Murry would become, like we’d look and see him in his Rivers Cuomo glasses trying to trade pokemon cards, bragging about how he just won some new pogs with his freaking sweet slammer, playing a game on his Nintendo DS, and eating a burrito.  Actually when I think about it, being the 12th man doesn’t sound all that bad.

Murry picks up a few fouls, hey man, you’re making me look like a fool.  A few plays later, he gets the ball and just drains a three.   My friend begins to pay attention.  Time goes buy, and we’re also sitting with this guy who is huge into Nebraska high school basketball and he’s talking about how there are some kids from Nebraska that should be on UNO instead of “number eleven.”  About ten seconds later, Murry knocks down another three.  Was he listening?  Let’s just keep talking crap about Rylan Murry, he’ll hit like five threes a game.

So what do we have here?  A 6’7″ guy that shoot threes, not every team has that, but they exist.  We’ll just stuff him in the corner, and a driving Carter or Patterson will kick it out to him for an open three.  That’s worth six points a game.  I was kind of thinking that’s what Murry was going to be as a freshman, just someone who was going to take 95% of his shots as threes, kind of a bigger version of Kaleb Korver.  Then I’m watching Omaha play Nebraska, and Murry is about 15 feet away from the basket and recognizes he has space to the lane, and puts the ball to the court and gets a running floater over Shavon Shields (if memory serves me correctly).  Wait, what did he just do?  Then against Nevada, he puts the ball to the floor a few times and goes to the basket, makes some unexpected passes.  Can this guy do a little bit of everything offensively?  Do we really have two 6’7″ freshmen that can shoot the three and drive to the basket?  More offensive moves will come (for him, Thurman, Meyer, and Newsome), more rebounding will come, and the threes will continue.  He has claimed to be “cash” from three.  Is that new lingo?  Is “The Cashier” an appropriate nick name?

Hoping that Rylan Murry is going to be the UNO Korver, the Iowan shooter that will take us to the next level may be much, and I certainly don’t want to put that pressure on a person.  I do hope he continues to work, make big time threes, and has a successful career as a UNO Maverick.  Along with the Thurman, Meyer, and Newsome, he’s a smart player.  None of them are the guys you see on television missing dunks, dribbling the ball out of bounds off their knee, they’ll all be playing within themselves and not trying to do too freaking much to look cool.

A few notes about UNC…no, no, not that UNC

Northern Colorado RPI – 259, UNO – 303

  • So it’s finals week at UNO…
  • Still not entirely sure what’s going on with this bench.  Although, I’m sure it has been difficult to figure out a rotation with and without Jake White available.
  • Jake White is back, he shot 2-8 against Kansas City and that’s less than ideal, but what coach doesn’t want 11 boards a game from a guy?
  • UNO is 3-0 at home.  UNC is 0-4 on the road (one of those losses is to undefeated Colorado State…CSU is really 10-0).
  • There is not much of a post game for UNC, they only have two guys that are 6’8″ or bigger that get any playing time.  That’s what is most important in basketball, right?  Being taller, so you can be closer to the basket?
  • UNC is not really that great of a rebounding team.  They average 31 boards a game, only one player grabs more than 4 rebounds a game.  UNO has 4 guys that average 4 or more (White – 11, Rostampour – 7.6, Thurman – 5.1, Patterson – 4)
  • UNC turns the ball over only 9 times a game, compared to UNO’s 15 turnovers a game…ehhhh
  • UNC is also a better all around shooting team, percentage wise.  So what are you trying to say, you think you’re better than me?
  • This is a homecoming for UNC’s Dwight Smith.  Smith graduated from Ralston, probably the first and last Ralston guy to play a collegiate game at the Ralston Arena.  Not even going to look that up, just going to roll with it.  Smith started his career at Colorado State before transferring over the summer, UNO was one of his possible destinations to travel to.
  • Omaha Benson grad Riak Bol also committed to UNC, but apparently isn’t on the roster.
  • UNC is pretty big at the wing position, big wings have hurt UNO in the past.  Maybe this means more playing time for Randy Reed at the wing position to guard against that.
  • UNC doesn’t really seem to have a set rotation, players have been in and out of the starting line up.
  • If the Mavs run into foul trouble (again), it will create a challenge, but Meyer, Murry, Newsome,  Reed, and Smallwood all capable against UNC.
  • The only team UNO has played in the Big Sky since transition is North Dakota, who they’ve gone 2-0 against.  Didn’t North Dakota make it to the Big Sky championship game last year?  I don’t have much respect for the Big Sky.  I used to work at Weber State (probably the Sky’s best basketball program).  Some of their players would sneek their way onto Intramural teams, and the players never really stood out in the rough and tough Intramural leagues of Ogden, Utah…by the way, Weber State has a senior, James Hajek, who played at Omaha Skutt, and their head coach, Randy Rahe, is from Iowa…why couldn’t we get Weber State to come to Omaha?  I know like 3 people that would travel for that game.  And if the Mavs have to go to Ogden the following year, there is a place near campus with the best nachos I’ve ever had.

Some milestone notes

  • CJ Carter is 12 points away from passing John Karhoff for most points by any player since transition.  Carter is/was the first (and only so far) 4 year starter since the transition, so it’s not a surprise for him to be number one.
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman’s 4 steals vs. UMKC was the most by any freshman since the transition (not trying to downplay it, but the only freshmen UNO has had before this year have been: Carter, Farr, Tyus, Krych, and Bradley).

 

The effect of a guy named Nitro Rostampour

Before the 2012-2013 season the UNO Mavericks men’s basketball team picked up a walk on transfer from St. Cloud State named Mike Rostampour, and no one really thought anything of it.

Nitro Rostampour is working out in the Sapp Fieldhouse when John Karhoff walks in.

John Karhoff:  The name’s Karhoff.

Nitro Rostampour: Uh…Nitro, hi.

John Karhoff:  Interesting nickname, what’s your real name?

Nitro Rostampour:  Nitro…I’m working on a nickname, though.

John Karhoff:  Oh yeah?

Nitro Rostampour:  Yeah.  Listen to this……Mike.

That’s probably not exactly how it happened, but I’m sure it’s pretty darn close.  By the way, if you haven’t seen Down Periscope, we’ll probably never get along.  Also, I don’t care what you say, “Nitro Rostampour” flows pretty well.

I didn’t get to go to any basketball game during UNO’s first transition year because I was living in Ogden, Utah for a big chunk of that year.  My wife and I moved back to Omaha in March after the season.  I got to stream a few of the games and my thoughts were never really negative but kind of bummed that it was going to take so much time to get through this transition process.  Waiting for 2015-2016 was going to be rough, I thought.

By the way, Tre’Shawn Thurman, per the recruiting websites I saw you had an offer to Utah State.  I don’t know how serious they got with you, or if you ever visited, but trust me, Utah is not the place to be.  Before my cable got set up, my wife and I asked someone where a good sports bar was so we could go watch the Nebraska and Oregon football games and they told us Applebee’s.  Freaking Applebee’s!  

Anyway, I began focusing my attention to the recruiting and any player that would be on the roster when the program finally became eligible for the NCAA tournament.  The 2012 recruiting class was kind of cool I guess.  This was sort of UNO’s first actual division one recruiting class.  Justin Simmons, Alex Phillips, Marcus Tyus, Jalen Bradley, Indiana State transfer Koang Dulouny (who would leave the team after 7 games), and Mike Rostampour as a walk on.

I read everything I could about that first recruiting class, tried to find the videos on each of them (that sounds creepy out of context), but there wasn’t much on any of them really.  Marcus Tyus had a few videos, everyone else just had some articles about them.  You really had to dig deep on the internet to find anything on any of them, and the internet isn’t small.  I still thought and hoped that these guys could all help, they could all contribute and help the program improve, and get it to where it needs to be by 2015-2016.  Before the 2012 season started, UNO picked up a commitment from Rylan Murry (and one too from Nick Billingsley), and I was thinking – oh this Murry guy has offers from Central Michigan and South Dakota!  The only guy in the 2012 class I could find with a scholarship offer from anywhere else was Alex Phillips with an offer from Eastern Illinois.  Not that none of the others didn’t have any, they just at least weren’t that widely reported at least.

So I see we have this 6’8″ walk on named Mike Rostampour, and I don’t think much of him.  The thoughts running through my mind were: He averaged 8ppg and 5rpg at St. Cloud State as a sophomore, I’m sure Simon Krych could do that (he’s currently averaging 1.8ppg and 2.2rpg as a junior at St. Cloud State)…Rostampour just came to UNO to say he’s a D-1 player, but he’s not actually a D-1 player…Wait, he can shoot 3s?…Well at least we can have some height on the bench…Look at those tattoos, what a jerk store.  Could he really be better than Rylan Murry, Simon Krych, or Matt Hagerbaumer?…

I don’t remember what I was busy with, but it was difficult for me to get to games in the 2012-2013 season at first.  I finally got to go when they played Western Illinois in January.  I watched everyone in warm ups, I see Rostampour, I think to myself – I’m not excited about that guy, hopefully Jalen Bradley is getting ready for next year… UNO lost that game by 15, they only got out rebounded by 6 rebounds but it seemed like so much more.  Rostampour caught my attention that game.  How did a walk on guy who is red shirting grab my attention?  Every time John Karhoff, Alex Welhouse, or Matt Hagerbaumer got outworked for a rebound, Rostampour had a look on his face as if he was being tortured.  Every time there was a time out, Rostampour was the first to run out and greet his teammates to the bench.  Even as a red shirt, he was doing as much as he possibly could to help everything in the program improve.  The Mavs couldn’t rebound that year and you could tell it was killing Rostampour.

Before the start of the 2013-2014 season, Mike Rostampour is awarded a scholarship and gets the nod to be in the starting line up.  Okay, what?  The walk on?  The Junior College to Division 2 to Division 1 walk on is going to start?  Really, why I am surprised?  A bulk of the roster is former Division 2 players.  Rostampour is in foul trouble in just about every single game at first, but in the time he was out on the court, the team is clearly a better rebounding team.  Matt Hagerbaumer also looks to be a better rebounder, maybe it was self improvement or maybe Rostampour helped him get better, I don’t know.  But rebounding is no longer the team biggest weakness.  Well, it is, but it has clearly improved now, and it’s not going to get them blown out by 30 or 40 anymore.  Once Rostampour adjusted to the speed of the game, and the officials being more touchy with their foul calls, he was able be an impact on the floor.  The Mavs got better and better once he figured that out.

 

The added toughness in general was also needed to add to that roster.  Before Rostampour, the body language on the players was basically screaming – why the hell are we out here, what are we even playing for?  Rostampour changed that when he was on the court, there was more fight in everyone’s eyes.  You also have to credit Justin Simmons and Devin Patterson to adding some fight in the team, but a lot of it did come from Rostampour.  The boy band needed a tough guy.  Without Rostampour, the 30-40 point beat downs from Big 12 and Big 10 teams would’ve continued.  Rostampour gave them a fighting chance.  Rostampour came to UNO at exactly the right time.  When UNO goes up against South Dakota State’s Cody Larson or IPFW’s Steve Forbes we’re not sitting there saying, “oh well that guy will murder us down low,” instead we’re saying, “that’s okay, we have Rostampour.”

During the Marquette game, I showed someone the score on my phone that UNO won the game and they instantly said “have you seen UNO’s center?  He’s a freak.”  After a home loss to Denver last season, I was hanging out in the bar in the Ralston Arena after the game a little while with a friend.  We were walking out and we walked by Rostampour, we couldn’t help but stare, partially out of fear that he may want to fight us.  He noticed us and thanked us for coming out to the game, even though he had a look on his face as if the Pioneers just stole his puppy.  I don’t think anyone should ever be afraid of saying anything bad about Rostampour, in a way, I think it feeds him to get better.  Like, someone said something bad about me?  I’m going to go kill a basketball by squeezing it to death.

Yeah, Rostampour brings attention to UNO,  people want to see him.  He’s UNO’s first legitimate rebounder since transition.  Barring some injuries, he should end up with most career rebounds since transition.  He’ll have more than Matt Hagerbaumer and John Karhoff, and they had 3 years to his 2 years in that time frame.  His 21 rebounds against North Dakota in the CIT was the most any Maverick had in a division one game, his 239 rebounds his junior year is the most rebounds any Mav has had in D-1.  His 7 double-doubles are the most for any D-1 Mav (yeah okay the D-1 history is young, but still).  But my perception is that Rostampour never thinks he’s better than anyone else, I believe he thinks he constantly has to prove himself and proving himself is showing everyone how hard he works.  His driving force is the need to get better and improve in anyway he can.  You ever look at his twitter?  At first it was all about him taking pride in him and the Mavs working to improve.  His description is:  C Team-Juco-D2-Walk on = Current OMAHA POWER Forward.  You ever have a truly awful job and when you first start out they tell you a success story about how the CEO started exactly where you are, as just a regular part-time employee and worked their way up.  That’s Rostampour, he’s the CEO that remembers when he had to clean the bathrooms. I’m probably way off, but that’s just what I see.  By the way, I really hope no one makes the walk ons and red shirt players clean the bathrooms.

 

I think the first thing I ever saw him do was air ball a 3.  I thought, along with everyone around me, oh well this is a transitional team, we can’t get the good guys yet.  Each and every game Rostampour improves.  He hears a few people comment on his air balls, or his fouls, or all the tattoos, and he works to improve it.  He’s Mike Rostampour, he’s always ready to go.

When the Mavs are on the road, he’s the one the home team’s fans hate the most…  How can that guy be good?  He wouldn’t even start if he played for us… When Rostampour first started at UNO he said he wanted to be the Mavs’ Chris Andersen – The Birdman.  Probably my least favorite player in the NBA, but if you want to be Chris Andersen, you’re going to be the player the opposing team hates each and every single time.  Yeah, okay, if he played for a Nebraska, Creighton, or a Minnesota he wouldn’t be getting the minutes that he gets at UNO, not too many people are going to argue that, but you can’t tell me those teams wouldn’t be better with Rostampour coming off the bench and giving you everything he possibly could in his time on the court.  The Birdman – or Nitro – doesn’t care about the amount of minutes, he cares about making the most of those minutes.  He’s not worried about the skills he doesn’t have, he’s concentrated on how to make the most of the skills he does have and making damn sure the team benefits from those skills.

“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop those skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals”  — Larry Bird

The match up we’ve all been waiting for: Iowa Wesleyan

Okay, so that Air Force loss is depressing.  If the Mavs drop 3 in a row with the 3rd being to Iowa Wesleyan, I may just punch a hole in a wall like Andy Bernard when Jim Halpert hides his ringing phone.

Per Gary Sharp’s radio call on Monday, Jake White could be back tonight for Iowa Wesleyan and if he won’t be back, then he’ll for sure be back for when the Mavs play UMKC.  By the way, if you haven’t heard Gary Sharp say the word “Kangaroos”, then you will need to listen to the game.  It’s entertaining enough just hearing him say it.

If not Jake White is not back, I’m sure Iowa Wesleyan won’t be much an issue.  I mean, I’m sure they’re a great team in the…they’re in college, right?  Last year the Mavs beat Iowa Wesleyan by 50.  The Mavs with the most minutes against Iowa Wesleyan last year: Jalen Bradley and Simon Krych.  I’m not sure if you’re aware, but they’re no longer with us.  No starter played more than 14 minutes in that game.

So yeah, this is kind of like an exhibition, so it’s going to be a chance for opportunities to see what some of the younger guys can do.  I just hope some guys that don’t regularly get playing time realize if they go to some school like Iowa Wesleyan that there would be statues built of them, to honor them as the greatest players in the history of the school.  So this would be a good opportunity for Jake White to come back and get his feet wet.  Is that a pun?

So yeah, freshmen Devin Newsome and Daniel Meyer should get those Simon Krych and Jalen Bradley minutes tonight.  Randy Reed and Tim Smallwood should be able to get more shot attempts.  Rylan Murry should have the green light to shoot from wherever he wants.  It’s like you’re living in a fairy tale.  I’m not saying that to try and put these dudes down, I’m saying that because I think we need to see what they can do.  Derrin Hansen said before the season that they could have some issues in the beginning trying to figure out the bench minutes, so here is the chance for these guys to show off.


A random thought:  It took Creighton two overtimes to beat South Dakota.  I’m not sure how to feel about that.  Is South Dakota that improved under Craig Smith?  Or is scheduling UNO still “not the right time?”


Just a few pre-game notes for this game against Iowa Wesleyan

  • Wesleyan’s biggest starter is 6’6″ and he averages 1.5ppg
  • They do have a 6’2″ freshman guard who averages 11ppg
  • Chris Martin, who starts for Wesleyan went to high school in Bellevue
  • UNO’s returners last year vs. Iowa Wesleyan
    • CJ Carter:  5 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts, 2-2 fg
    • Devin Patterson:  7 pts, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 3-6 fg
    • Mike Rostampour:  13 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 2 blks, 5-5 fg
    • Marcus Tyus:  5 pts, 2 blks, 2-3 fg
  • UNO’s bench last year outscored the starters 45-41

Some notes about D-1 Stats charts (I think I’m the only one that keeps track)

  • Mike Rostampour needs 9 points to pass Caleb Steffensmeier for 9th most career points since transition
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman needs 9 points to pass John Ring for 17th most career points since transition
  • Mike Rostampour needs to out rebound CJ Carter by 2 rebounds to pass him for 4th most career rebounds since transition
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman already has the most blocks by a freshman in a game or a season since transition (there were really only 3 freshman before this year to get significant playing time: CJ Carter, Marcus Tyus, Mitchell Farr)

 

 

A few Nevada post game notes/pregame Kansas State notes

Post game notes for UNO-Nevada

  • I watched Nevada’s Michael Perez in shoot around before the game, I seriously thought he had to be a walk on with that form on his shot.  I think he went 1-15 in warm ups…ended up going 4-12 with 0-5 behind the arch.
  • Player of the game?
    • Mike Rostampour – 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal
    • Tre’Shawn Thurman – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 blocks
    • Devin Patterson – 10 points, 9 assists, 5 steals
  • Thurman’s 5 blocks are the most by any Mav since transition, he really got to show off his skills in this game
  • Everyone sitting around me kept saying “Thurman is just a freshman, I can’t believe we got him!”
  • Jake White suited up, was in for warm up drills, hopefully he is back soon
  • When Jake White returns, does UNO go with a starting 5 of Rostampour, White, Tyus, Carter, Patterson OR Rostampour, White, Thurman, Carter, Patterson?
  • Can Thurman play the 3?  He handles the ball well and seems to be able to do a little bit of everything…just looking ahead into the future (obviously a lot can happen with players coming and going) but could the Mavs have a starting front court of Meyer or Pirog/Murry/Thurman in 2017 & 2018?
  • Tim Smallwood scored 9 points, he looked comfortable out there, hopefully he’s going to become more consistent and be a huge weapon off the bench
  • Daniel Meyer can move really well without the ball
  • Devin Newsome guards the ball really well
  • What’s a better 3 headed monster?  Rostampour/White/Thurman or Rostampour/Karhoff/Hagerbaumer

A few pre game notes for UNO-Kansas State

  • I honestly don’t know much about Kansas State because Frank Martin is my least favorite coach in college basketball and Bruce Weber is my 2nd least favorite coach
  • There is not much height to the Wildcats, in their rotation they have: Thomas Gipson a 6’7″ senior (13.7ppg/4.7rpg) and Wesley Iwundu a 6’7″ sophomore (6.6ppg/4.8rpg) in the starting line up and Stephen Hurt a 6’11” junior (6.2ppg/4.3rpg) off the bench,
  • Iwundu’s 4.8 rebounds per game is the most on the team
  • Against a somewhat similar opponent, Kansas State did beat UMKC 83-73 and outrebound the Kangaroos 29-22.  Thomas Gipson had 21 points and 9 rebounds in that game.
  • This will be Kansas State’s first home game since UMKC, they’re 2-0 at home and coming off a tournament in Maui in which they went 1-2 with a win over Purdue and losses to # 3 Arizona and a 70-47 loss to Pittsburgh
  • Marcus Tyus is shooting 13-16 over the last 3 games.  He has shot 53% from the floor and 47% from three point range in 8 careers games vs. Power 6 teams.
  • Devin Patterson has averaged 18.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg, and shot 47% from the floor in 4 career games vs Power 6 teams.

By the way, I consider the Power 6 to be: ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Big East, SEC, and Pac 12.

 

 

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

I was in Lincoln on Saturday and a Lincolnite struck up a conversation with me about college basketball, more specifically on the local spectrum.  He was wearing a Husker shirt and watching the Huskers not having a fun camping trip to Rhode Island, he was quite possibly suicidal from the Huskers football loss earlier in the day as well.  At this point in the day I am guessing he had at least 16 beers inside of him, but he made some sense.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are the best college basketball team in the state, on paper, he claims.  Those two teams from Omaha, Creighton and UNO, are awful match ups for the Huskers, he adds.  This guy is saying all the words I have been thinking to myself for a while, oh and this guy when he gets up and goes to the bathroom looks like Bambi trying to walk on a frozen lake.  I contact my friends who are both huge into college basketball and present this guys’ ideas as if they are mine, honestly some of them were things I was thinking but afraid of looking stupid if I said them.  His random thoughts on how Dude, Where’s My Car is the funniest film all time, those don’t sit well with me.

The main reason Creighton and UNO are terrible match ups for Nebraska:  Walter Pitchford vs. (Creighton) Artino/Hegner/Hansen and Walter Pitchford vs (UNO) Rostampour/White/Thurman.  Due to lack of options down low, Nebraska is playing a 6’10” shooting guard at center.  Their 6’10 “post player” has taken 16 shots on the year and 11 of them have been for three.  In his short tenure at Nebraska, he has never looked good defending down low, last year Leslee Smith was counted on a lot to come off the bench and guard the other team’s big men when Pitchford just couldn’t handle it.

If Mike Rostampour and Jake White are both in on this, they are going to eat up Pitchford.  Pitchford wont be able to guard them, Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields, and David Rivers are going to have to help out, it’s going to cause issues for the Huskers.  All the threes Pitchford takes, they do not open things up in the post, a 6’10” that can hit from three is a huge weapon, but it doesn’t open things up for things to happen if he’s just planting his feet and waiting for someone to pass him the ball the whole time.  If he misses, UNO is better at rebounding than Nebraska, if those threes aren’t going it, it will be a disaster for Nebraska.  I’ve never said UNO was a better rebounding team than anybody, NEVER!

A big reason UNO was able to pick up a win at Marquette was because of the hot start they had, and they were able to keep that lead.  Nebraska has had some slow starts in this young season so far, if they don’t come out and grab a lead early, Nebraska may find themselves in the same situation as Marquette did on Saturday.

Something else that doesn’t work in Nebraska’s favor is the pace.  Yes, Nebraska has Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields who can both put up a lot of points.  With Pitchford’s current shooting struggles, they don’t really have a 3rd scorer.  Most of the teams that beat Nebraska last year could score the ball.

  • UMass won 96-90
  • UAB won 87-74
  • Ohio State won 84-53
  • Creighton won 82-67
  • Michigan won 79-50
  • Cincy won 74-59
  • Michigan won 71-70
  • Ohio State won 71-67
  • Purdue won 70-64
  • Iowa won 67-57
  • Illinois won 60-49
  • Penn State won 58-54

The most points that Nebraska scored in a win: 83 vs. South Carolina State who the Mavericks beat 91-59 and 83-67.  Nebraska, doesn’t like the high scoring games.  It’s not them, it’s not what they like doing.

I love Tim Miles, I think he’s the biggest advantage for the Nebraska, and I don’t think there is a long list of guys that could have turned Nebraska into a tournament team as quickly as he did.  When I lived in Utah we got this Mountain West channel and all the games I got were all of Colorado State’s basketball and football games, and I thought then if Doc Sadler got fired at Nebraska that Tim Miles was the right man for the job.  Tim Miles is no idiot, it didn’t take him seven years to graduate high school, he has been the head coach of a transitioning team that beat Marquette and Wisconsin, and he knows what this game means for the Mavericks and what it would do for them.

I don’t want it to seem like I’m the guy that thinks the Mavericks totally have this.  I’m not the Husker football fan saying before the (and every) season that they’re going to win the national championship because the 1995 ‘skers were the best football team of all time.  A lot can happen.  Pitchford can start hitting his shots finally.  Rostampour can pick up two quick fouls and the Mavericks could lose their rebounding advantage, especially if Jake White is out.  Petteway of Nebraska and White of Omaha are both game time decisions, those are two huge decisions for this.

One large X-Factor in this is CJ Carter.  Someone like Carter has been waiting to pick up a win in Lincoln for a long damn time.  Per twitter, Tre’Shawn Thurman has also been waiting for something like this for a long time.  Carter though, he’s played a college basketball game in Lincoln, and it didn’t go that well for him.  6 points and 4 rebounds on 1-6 shooting against the Husker in 2012.  In fact, pre-Marquette win, Carter had struggled against the Power 6 conferences.  In 7 games from his freshman to junior year, Carter averaged 7.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.9apg, 30%fg, and 25% on threes.  Tonight’s game against Nebraska is Carter’s shot at redemption in front of his fellow Nebraskans.

CJ+Carter+Nebraska+Omaha+v+UNLV+RI9q4yg0I81l

 

The Huskers need this game for respect, they know that.  Before this game, the locals all had the Nebraska is Going to Steamroll Creighton and UNO feelings.  Now things have changed, Nebraska knows they need this game for respect, they were the best show in town and now that’s been taken away from them.  By the way, it’s been 15+ years since going into a season that there was a consensus that the Huskers were the best college basketball team in the state.  Are they used to all these mixed emotions?

By the way, Mavs fans need a #hashtag for this game.  #breakthebank is too cliche.  We need something…

Mavericks win could start something here

I’ve never been so bummed from a UNO basketball win.  Why am I so bummed?  I’m glad I asked myself.

I’m currently working a seasonal job at Omaha Steaks for a little extra money to help pay for all the traveling my wife and I did this past year.  The only schedule I could choose that would work out with my full time job is going to force me to miss out on a few UNO games.  I may or may not get off from Omaha Steaks early enough on Tuesday to catch the game on ESPN 3, which I’m clearly hoping for getting off work early.

Anyway, Tuesday night my friend calls me when I’m done at Omaha Steaks and offers me two free tickets to go to the Nebraska football game.  I’ve been living in Nebraska for 27 out of 28 years of my life and I have never been to a Nebraska football game, so I say hell yes without even thinking.  I quickly remember that UNO basketball is on television on Saturday.  I come up with this plan to check the UNO stats on my phone during the Husker game and then head to a bar to watch the second half of UNO-Marquette.

I’m standing there watching the Minnesota Gophers come back on Nebraska, there was a play in the 2nd half when the Huskers are 2nd and 1 and they call a 7 step drop back pass for Tommie Armstrong who gets sacked and it’s now 3rd and 9, they don’t convert the 4th and right there I figured to myself that Minnesota had enough momentum to win this game.  So that’s when I start looking up the UNO stats and I see UNO is up by 5 with a little to go in the first half.  I’m just standing there thinking to myself – Shit, I’m missing what could come out to be the biggest win in UNO’s short D1 history.  All so I could be standing at this embarrassment of a Nebraska football game and wonder if I should ever come back as there could now be a slight possibility that I am the Nebraska football bad luck guy.  You don’t want to be that guy.

So the Nebraska  game ends and my friends and I head out of Memorial Stadium, which is the quietest I have ever seen 90,000 people.  It was like walking out of a funeral, a funeral that no one had respect for the dead since they dressed in red Husker jackets and one guy was even dressed as a pirate, but still the quiet feel of a funeral.  We get to a bar, we ask for them to turn to the UNO game, the hipster bartender asks “Who?”  The Marquette game is what we have to claim.  The bartender searches the television and the bar doesn’t have the channel.  So yes, instead of getting to watch UNO’s win over Marquette I had to sit in a bar and watch the stats go by.  That is why I am bummed.

Before the start of the season I didn’t really think Marquette would be that good of a team.  They have no size, a first year coach, not much depth, and not a great deal of experience.  So early on I thought that UNO had a chance, even if they were picked as a 17 point underdog.  When I saw Jake White was going to be out, I thought the chances for a UNO win dropped.  I thought it took away a lot of UNO’s experience and size.  But freshmen forwards Tre’Shawn Thurman and Rylan Murry stepped up in his absence.  At Seattle, Thurman got his first start and had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Murry came off the bench for 10 points and three rebounds.  At Marquette, Thurman had 12 and 7 while Murry had 10 and 2.  Two freshmen came in played big in when UNO really needed it.  They combined for 9-11 from the floor in an environment they had ever reason to combine for 3-11.  These two guys are going to be sick in a few years.  I hear sick is a good thing now.

Marquette isn’t at their best right now, but it’s still Marquette and it was in Milwaukee.  Marquette is a big name, they consistently play in the tournament, and Dwayne Freaking Wade played at Marquette.  I hope Gabrielle Union gave him crap for it.  Also UNO’s older cousin down the street plays in the same conference, so it makes a statement that maybe UNO could hang with Creighton finally.  Also, with UNO topping a big name it makes the upcoming UNO-Nebraska matchup far more interesting to people around Nebraska.  Early on the locals thought Nebraska would just steam roll the Mavericks, that thought isn’t on people’s minds right now.  The Huskers slow starts in an exhibition game and then against Central Arkansas has taken away some confidence Nebrasketball fans.  Also, with a little momentum behind the Mavericks, they’re not looking to top their program’s biggest win just a few days later for an even bigger win.

I don’t think there was much excitement about UNO-Nebraska a few years ago when the teams met up in Lincoln.  UNO was pretty fresh into D1 and Nebraskans didn’t know how good Tim Miles was really was at that point, nor did they have high expectations in his first season.  Nebraska also has Terrran Petteway and Walter Pitchford redshirting.  This game, Petteway could be playing on a bad ankle and the Huskers tallest player, Pitchford, has no desire to play in the paint.  Mike Rostampour is going to eat that up.  UNO also just shot 57% on the road against a Big East team and Nebraska is coming off 36% shooting against an Atlantic 10 team, ad they also shot 15% from downtown.  UNO also has an experienced back court that each had 22+ points in each of their wins.

This stretch of games could be some of the most important stretch UNO has ever had as far as marketing their program.  A win at Marquette, an exciting match up at Nebraska, a home game against a somewhat big name Nevada, and an away game at Kansas State – who compares pretty well to Marquette in terms of size and experience.  If UNO can get a couple more wins in this stretch, the seats are going to get a little more full in Ralston.  I may not be able to buy 9 dollar seats and then sit wherever the hell I want due to an empty arena.  The Mavericks are making some noise, it’s starting to getting louder in Omaha.

Post game UCA Notes/pregame Seattle notes

Central Arkansas Post Game Notes:

  • Player of the game is seriously up for debate, could be either:
    • CJ Carter: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 6-11 FG, 4 threes
    • Devin Patterson: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 8-12 FG, 2 threes
    • Mike Rostampour: 13 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
    • Jake White: 9 points, 11 rebounds (9 offensive)
  • Devin Patterson was and is apparently playing with a broken big toe
  • UNO had more offensive rebounds (26) than UCA had total (25)
  • Jake White left the game limping and came back out on crutches, but is apparently OK
  • Rostampour & White are going to give teams fits in the post, by far the best rebounders UNO has had
  • Tyus’ shot didn’t seem to have the same arch as normal, maybe having some issues?
  • Carter, Patterson, & Rostampour all played 30 minutes or more, White probably could have gone for more than 30 minutes had he not left the game…but Randy Reed & Tre’Shawn Thurman look like they will for sure be the top bench guys as of now
  • None of the freshman seemed nervous, which is great
    • Maybe Rylan Murry did at first but then he was taking threes with confidence
    • Thurman looked ready right away
    • Devin Newsome looked comfortable running the floor
    • Daniel Meyer didn’t get much playing time, but when he got in he didn’t look nervous at all and had a good post move from what I remember
  • As a Millard South guy, it was great to see Kyler Erickson get out on the court
  • The team’s new intro video was great, showed off the campus a bit, just looked great

Seattle U Pregame notes

I feel like it should be worth noting that the UNO Mavericks will be playing more games in Key Arena than the NBA this year.  I hate being the dude that says that playing later on the west coast is a disadvantage for the Mavericks, but you know what, it really could be.  My wife is from Washington state, and the area is incredibly beautiful, but it rains constantly and is obviously two hours behind.  Every time I’m there it takes me a couple days to adjust to the time change.  I’m sure a D1 athlete gets enough adrenaline to where it doesn’t really affect them, but wouldn’t it be an issue for a bench guy that uses that adrenaline to sit for 10+ minutes before entering the game?  In reality, college students are probably pretty used to being up late.  If I were traveling to see the game, I would probably fall asleep at half time…and I love college basketball.  As a traveler, I wouldn’t look forward to flying from Omaha to Seattle and then to Milwaukee all in the same week, combined with having to work my ass off, but yeah I am kind of lazy.  Here are some game notes just based on lazy observation:

  • Seattle lost their first game at home to Texas State 62-53
  • Former Omaha Bryan player/current Texas State guard Ethan Montalvo (who UNO offered) played 11 minutes, missed a three pointer
  • Hopefully Jake White is healthy and ready to go, well hopefully everyone is healthy and ready to go but the entire team didn’t limp off the court on Sunday
  • UNO beat Seattle last year in Omaha 76-69 and it was one of the more chippy games I attended last year, in that game:
    • CJ Carter – 17/2/3
    • Devin Patterson – 12/2/2
    • Mike Rostampour fouled out in 15 minutes and had 3 points & 3 rebounds
    • Marcus Tyus – 4/6/4
  • For Seattle, these dudes had:
    • Jack Crook – 4/6/2
    • Jarell Flora – 5/4
    • Deshawn Sunderhaus – 7/5/2
    • Isiah Umipig – 35/3/4
  • Feels like the main threat from Seattle is Isiah Umipig, as noted he had 35 points against the Mavs last season…he averaged 19.5 last season and had 23 in the Redhawks’ opening game this season
  • Looking at the two teams on paper, UNO definitely looks like the better team but curious if playing on a Wednesday night on the west coast could cause issues of for the Mavericks
  • Since going D1 UNO is 1-4 playing in Pacific (& Hawaii) time…but are a better team as compared to when they first started, they went 1-2 last season beating Nevada and losing to UNLV & Hawaii but were competitive in both games

Game 1: Central Arkansas (kind of a preview)

The last season of transition is about to start against Central Arkansas.  There are still some questions about the Mavs, Derrin Hansen said he wasn’t exactly sure what’s going to happen with the bench, but hopefully guys will come in and prove themselves to make the process a little more simple.

UNO’s future non-conference opponents went 7-3 on the first two days of the college basketball new year.  Central Arkansas lost to Creighton 104-77 and was out rebounded 45-28.  Creighton is a bigger team this year compared to UNO, actually I doubt UNO has ever had a larger roster than Creighton.

UNO’s Height:  Meyer-6’9″, White-6’8″, Rostampour-6’8″, Thurman-6’7″, Murry-6’7″

Creighton’s Height:  Groselle-7’0″, Artino-6’11”, Hegner-6’9″, Hanson-6’9″, Gilmore-6’7″

Why am I comparing their height?  I don’t know, maybe it’s because the closer you are to the basket the easier it is to score?  Or maybe because Central Arkansas has 6’11” and 6’10” juniors in the starting lineup.  They only combined for 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks against Creighton…playing against height in the past has been difficult for the Mavericks and I’m not sure if these two post players will pose problems for UNO.

Central Arkansas only returns one player from their roster last year.  New Head Coach Russ Pennell just started completely over for a team that is ineligible for post season due to low APR.  They have no seniors, 3 juniors eligible to play, a couple sophomores and 7 freshman.  So on paper it doesn’t look that great for them, but UNO also has a cast of new faces, and in the history of college athletics they’ve never played a game on paper…well I guess I haven’t officially looked that up, but it sounds right.

Central Arkansas did shoot well from 3, they shot 45% against Creighton.  They had 4 players in double figures with freshman Jordan Howard leading the way with 19 points.  Michael Mulligan, another freshman, had 18 points and 7 rebounds, and another freshman Mathieu Kamba scored 11.  Which kind of made me wonder what kind of numbers UNO freshman Daniel Meyer, Rylan Murry, Tre’Shawn Thurman, and Devin Newsome could put up if they got a bulk of the minutes but I do doubt they will get the same minutes the Central Arkansas freshman are getting.

UNO did beat Central Arkansas in Arkansas last year 104-88, but hey remember when it was stated that Central Arkansas is only returning one player and UNO is only returning 4 that actually played last year?  So what’s the point of guessing the possibilities of an outcome today based on last year’s game.  In fact, I don’t even think UCA’s returning player got in that game.

So basically based on very little, I want to give UNO a 10 point edge, but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as I want it to be and could take a while for UNO to get a lead and actually be ahead.  Very excited to see how the returning players mesh with the new UNO cast.

Possible starting line up

So we’re finally a month away from when the UNO Mavericks men’s basketball starts the season against Central Arkansas, and losing 7 players you’ve got to wonder what the starting lineup is going to be, right?

The returning starters


G CJ Carter, 6-1, Senior

There is something you should know about CJ Carter, he’s pretty freaking awesome.  When healthy, he is the best player for the Mavericks.  CJ led the team in points per game in the 2013-2014 season was named All Summit Honorable Mention, he’s also been picked preseason 2nd team All Summit for this upcoming season.  He also already has over 1000 points, 250 assists, and 100 steals for his career.  He can do a lot for sure.

There are not many guards in the Summit that are as good as Carter at getting to the rim, and he hit so many big shots last season.  Whenever the game was on the line, I would just be sitting there saying, it’s okay, CJ Carter is on the freaking court.  If you need the Mavs need a clutch 3, he’ll shoot it, he’s not afraid of that.  If the Mavs need a defensive stop so they can get that clutch 3, he’ll force the turnover to get the possession.  Carter has had a few injury issues he fought through his sophomore and junior seasons, so you hope he can stay healthy so those clutch moments can be all game every game.  If you don’t hope for that, then you’re a monster.

In my previous post I spoke of how all the graduating players that never had a chance at the NCAA tournament needed to have their jerseys hung in the rafters, yeah Carter’s needs to be hung for sure.  I’ve been told he had a scholarship offer to Wichita State but instead stayed in Omaha to play at a school that had no shot.  It’s sad to think that he’ll never get the opportunity to play in the Summit League tournament.

G Devin Patterson, 5-11, Junior

So he’s fast.

When you hear a team has recruited a guy that averaged 6 ppg at a Junior College, you think maybe the team got a decent bench guy.  Instead, Devin Patterson comes to UNO, starts, averages 10 ppg and 1.8 spg.  As a sophomore, he was a veteran leader already, a true point guard, and he became the first true point guard UNO had since transitioning, which I guess is kind of needed in basketball.

He wasn’t afraid to yell at an upperclassmen that was doing something wrong, he wasn’t afraid of guarding a bigger player, or being guarded by a bigger player.  He just played.  Many people from Nevada praised Patterson after he had 18 points and 8 assists at Nevada.  He played pretty consistently until he had an injury against South Dakota and I’m not really sure how much that affected him, but he did seem lose some of his aggressiveness after that.  It also did seem to take him a while to get comfortable shooting from long range.  He was 1-10 for 3’s in his first 5 games, but ended the year as a 35% three point shooter.

Was it mentioned that Patterson is fast?  Per basketball statisticy stuff that no real person understands, UNO had the most uptempo offense in all of college basketball and much of that was due to Devin Patterson’s speed and defense.  Who needs an offense when you have Patterson or Carter stealing the ball, then the opposite player sprinting down the court for an easy layup?  That’s a solid plan to me.

F Mike Rostampour, 6-8, Senior

Rostampour proved so much his junior season.  If you didn’t know Rostampour has continuously moved his way up in the basketball world.  After high school he started his collegiate career at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas averaging 8 ppg and 5 rpg, then he transfers to Division 2 St. Cloud State in Minnesota and again averages 8 ppg and 5 rpg.  Then UNO became division 1 and he transferred to Nebraska-Omaha shortly after.

I’ll be the first to admit, when Rostampour was red shirting after transferring, I wasn’t excited.  I was thinking to myself, Oh there’s a dude that just heard some school reclassified so maybe he thinks can get some easy bench minutes and just say he was a division one player just to say it.  Then I started to follow him on Twitter, which he doesn’t really tweet much, but when he does it’s always intense and memorable.  Just by following him on the Twitter machine you can tell he cares about improving himself and is all about hard work.  He went from being a walk on to earning a scholarship from that hard work, even earned himself a spot in the starting lineup.  With his rebounding and toughness, he provided exactly what was needed to a team that was transitioning.

His junior year started out kind of as expected, didn’t really score too much at first and grabbed a few rebounds and picked up A LOT of fouls.  For a while, I thought his role was just to foul out for the attention.  Then after adjusting to some stiffer college basketball officiating he scores 19 points and grabs 9 rebounds in a win on the road against South Carolina State.  It was just kind of a Oh This Guy Is Useful moment.  After that though, he kind of played a little inconsistent 9 points this game, 1 point that game, 2 rebounds this game, 9 rebounds that game.

Then against Peru State, yeah I know it’s Peru State, Rostampour on 10-10 shooting had 24 points and 12 rebounds.  It was against lesser competition, but things did change for Rostampour after this.  What’s pretty impressive is that before this win against the Charlotte Bobcats of Nebraska, Rostampour averaged 7.1 ppg and 6.4rpg and after he averaged 12.6 ppg and 9.5 rpg.  So that’s cool.

Rostampour has a motor that never stops running and I don’t see how that cant fuel other players in practice and in games.  When everyone sees a senior leader playing out of his mind, others will find a way to contribute and do what they can to get that senior a win.  Rostampour finished 2nd in the Summit in rebound last season, so why not go lead the league in rebounding his senior season?

G Marcus Tyus, 6-1, Junior

So it’s still unclear if Marcus Tyus will start as a junior.  He started 16 games in the 2013-2014 season due to injury problems to Justin Simmons, and UNO has gotten some bigger guys coming in to compete for minutes and a starting role.  Regardless he did up his offensive game his sophomore year, he came out with some more moves and it appeared to be a lot easier for him to get to the rim and score.  He shot 36% on threes in his freshman and sophomore year, so he’s been solid from there.

The obvious issue with Tyus starting is his height.  The Mavs have a really small lineup with Patterson, Carter, and Tyus in the starting five.  Regardless, it’s not a bad lineup, just short.  If he’s not a full time starter, Tyus will provide a big threat off the bench.


So who is going to take these remaining full time starting spots?  I guess it’s possible that Carter, Patterson, or Rostampour could get moved to the bench, but I highly doubt it.  Then again, I didn’t expect Patterson to come in and start over senior guard Alex Phillips, but he did and he played great.  So who’s going to be in the starting lineup?

F Jake White, 6-8, Junior

So it feels like this should be an obvious answer for White to start, but he did have a knee injury and had surgery last year while he was sitting out.  From everything I’ve heard, he’s ready to go.  White was one a key bench player on Wichita State’s team that made the final four in 2012-2013.  So that makes sense right, key bench player at Final Four Team = starter for transitioning team?

G/F Randy Reed, 6-6, Junior

Reed was a third team JuCo All American last season averaging 21 ppg and 7.5 rpg.  He did only shoot 25% on threes last season, and UNO likes threes.  But it’s not like they don’t have three point shooters around.  He’ll provide some size at the wing that they haven’t had and that really hurt them in games against bigger teams like South Dakota State and North Dakota State.

F Tre’Shawn Thurman, 6-7, Freshman

Every high school basketball person I talk to says “Tre’Shawn can play,” and those words are always in that exact order. They talk about how he can do everything; score inside, outside, rebound, pass, defend, and how he will be an excellent replacement to Justin Simmons.  If he doesn’t start this year, he should hopefully be a key contributor off the bench and have a great four years at UNO.

G Tim Smallwood6-2, Junior

Okay so this guy can score apparently.  He averaged 19 ppg as a freshman and 16 as a sophomore in junior college, but he did sit out last year, so who knows if he’s ready to go this year?  Actually Derrin Hansen’s staff probably has a good idea.  Smallwood, like Tyus, provides for a small lineup, but again it doesn’t sound like a bad lineup.


 

Either way, UNO lost a lot of players, but look at what’s coming in.  There is clearly some more size and it appears to be more talent.   Aside, from the players previously mentioned, UNO added a 6-9 post player Daniel Meyer who transferred from Wright State and is eligible immediately, and 6-7 Rylan Murry who red shirted last season.  The team will also have Junior walk on guard Kyler Erickson available and freshman point guard Devin Newsome who could likely red shirt due to being behind Carter, Patterson, Tyus, and Smallwood.

So size wise the roster went from

6-8 John Karhoff

6-8 Mike Rostampour

6-8 Simon Krych

6-7 Matt Hagerbaumer

to

6-9 Daniel Meyer

6-8 Mike Rostampour

6-8 Jake White

6-7 Tre’Shawn Thurman

6-7 Rylan Murry

6-6 Randy Reed.

Holy crap, that’s good for at least one rebound a game!  Clearly we still have to see how all the new talent will blend together.  This sounds and looks like the most deep deep the Mavs have had since transitioning.  It’s not like their overall record really fully matters this year, but with 5 juniors, and at least 3 freshman in the lineup it will provide for many minutes of this team meshing and learning to play together to start the next season off right – the first year they are eligible for the the conference tournament.