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.

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What happened to the Mavs roster?

I’m not sure if you heard about it, but the UNO Mavericks they kind of changed conferences a few years ago.  Okay they actually even changed divisions and have been going through a transition phase where they cant reach the NCAA, NIT, or Summit League post season, but hey we’re finally to the last year for it.  Since roster blogs/columns are so incredibly easy, I thought we could start this blog off there to start off the basketball team’s last year of transition.

Since the Mavs have been going through this transitional phase I have noticed that the caliber of incoming talent gets better each year.  Each year your staff gets to bring in players each year that you’re getting to sell on more meaningful years and a chance to go fight for the NCAA tournament with actually going and playing in your conference tournament instead of watching some team you beat earlier in the year pull out an upset in the conference tournament.

Okay so here is what the UNO Men’s basketball team lost from last season


Jalen Bradley, 6-0 Redshirt Freshman- Transfer to Northeast Community College

Bradley did show some promise early in the season but a late season foot injury ended his season early.  We didn’t really know what to expect of Bradley as far as where he would end up in his career.  Would he end up being a starter or a 4 year bench guy?  Being that when you’re transitioning the talent on your team gets better each year, as stated earlier and each year you are losing your original Division 2 caliber guys, I think it was pretty possible that Bradley was going to be a 4 year bench guy, maybe starting his senior year but more than likely being the 6th man for his final season.  Really it must be difficult when you’re showing a recruit around on their visit around and you’re asking them “So you’re going to be a junior, and we play the same position?”

Bradley was a great shooter though, his redshirt season season I’d watch him in warm ups taking shots from half court and swishing them home like it was just a regular three point shot – and yes I know it’s unguarded warm ups – but still in the limited time he did play he did shoot 40% from long range.  In a 91-59 rout of South Carolina State he showed what you could be getting with a 15 point, 6-6 shooting performance off the bench.  I really believe he’ll do great at Northeast Community College and will probably go on to be a great player at a Division 2 school, like maybe even set a school’s three point record in the two seasons he’ll be at this potential school.

Matt Hagerbaumer, 6-7 Senior

Hagerbaumer was never the guy that you thought was going to take over any game with his offense, but you were always completely comfortable with him as the main back up post player.  He averaged 3.7ppg in 20 minutes a game but shot 72% from the field his senior year, which was actually down  from the 80% he shot his junior year.  Hagerbaumer led the team in blocks his senior year and currently holds the most blocks overall since the transition – yes it’s sad that I keep track.  He rarely took a shot that had you going, “Really, what the hell are you thinking?”  He was undersized in some situations, which could get you scared at moments, but that’s something any transitional team will go through doing it’s 4 years of sitting out of post season play

Maybe if the transition didn’t happen, maybe Hagerbaumer would’ve been a starter his senior year without Mike Rostampour on the roster, who knows.  The thing I will miss most about Hagerbaumer were his hard dunks.  Dude would find a way to just throw it down at least once a game.  Every dunk looked like a high school varsity underclassmen that would get in for garbage time at the end of the game and get the ball in the open court and just said “ahh F it, I’m dunking the crap out of this and impressing the senior chicks with this.”

John Karhoff, 6-8 Senior

The loss of your best post offensive player hurts, it always hurts a lot.  Karhoff scored a lot of points at UNO, in fact, he scored the most total points since the transition – again yes it’s sad that I keep track.  Like most post players last season Karhoff was affected by some rule changes and got in a lot of foul trouble early on.  Somehow he averaged less fouls a game his senior year than his junior year though, so it’s pretty possible that Karhoff just loved fouling.  But as a guy recruited as a Division 2 Center, he was undersized in most games and you’re going to pick up a few fouls when you’re undersized.  It just happens.

Aside from losing the 13.2 ppg from his senior year the Mavs  are also losing his passing ability and really anytime your center shoots 82% from the free throw line, that’s going to be missed as well.  He only averaged 1.9 apg but his assists were always big.  He’d draw in the double team and kick it out to an open wing player who would knock down a shot just at the right time to start a UNO run.  For being undersized and ending his high school career with a big time injury, Karhoff had a great career at UNO.  I’ve been thinking that with the opening of the new UNO arena in 2015 and the start of being eligible for the post season that UNO needs to hold a ceremony for all the graduating players that never had the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament and maybe even hang their jerseys up in the building to honor their hard work.  Karhoff could have left but he stuck around and he helped out in a big way, he needs to be honored with more than just a senior night.

Simon Krych, 6-8 Sophomore – transferred to Division 2 St. Cloud State

Okay so the expectations for Krych were never really that high and he only played 7.2 minutes as a sophomore, and really he was just going to get buried more in the lineup so seeing him transfer was really no big shock to anyone.  He was only really used when there was foul trouble to Karhoff, Haugerbaumer, and Rostampour, and really even then there were times Derrin Hansen would go with 6-3 Alex Phillips or Justin Simmons in the post.

However, when all these post players were in foul trouble and UNO was up against a bigger in every way Iowa, Krych showed up.  In 10 minutes, Krych came off the bench and shot 4-5 with 8 points and picked up 3 rebounds.  That was his moment, I thought maybe he was going to prove people wrong and actually get some minutes later on down the road.  But sadly, other than 12 points and 7 rebounds in a 86-36 win over Iowa Wesleyan, that was his only moment.  Hopefully Krych will have plenty of great moments with his new school.

Alex Phillips, 6-3 Senior

Okay, I’ve said it a few times before that with a transitioning team your incoming players will get better and better each season during that period.  So yeah you’re going to see a guy start his junior year and then get pushed to the bench his senior year.  Phillips went from averaging 8.2 ppg his junior year to 5.1 ppg his senior year.  An early season concussion didn’t help, but the Mavs got a true point guard with Devin Patterson added to the lineup and someone had to go to the bench.

And when Justin Simmons started having issues, the team went to emerging sophomore Marcus Tyus to help fill that role.  Phillips still had his moments though.  In a game at Nevada he knocked down 4 threes to help the Mavs pull off a win, then the following week he knocked down 4 threes again at Minnesota on the Big Ten Network in a close loss.  Those are two huge moments.  Phillips worked hard but whether it was just bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he did make some mistakes that would have you yelling “What the hell, man!”   Depending on what lineup UNO would be going with in any game, Phillips was usually the 8th man and really with whatever lineup UNO goes with this year, it will be interesting to see if they can find someone as important as Phillips to be their 8th man.

Justin Simmons, 6-3 Senior

I don’t know how to start this off but Simmons’ senior year was a bit of a let down.  His production dropped a lot from his junior season and he really didn’t improve anywhere other than his free throw shooting slightly.  His minutes dropped by an average of 7 a game, his points dropped 6 per game, and it just goes on.  There were several factors to his drop in production:  CJ Carter was healthier, Patterson and Rostampour took some shots away, Simmons had several injury problems, Tyus was an improved player, and others.

But Simmons always had a great attitude and some great confidence which would lead to an occasional return of greatness.  He just lost much of his consistency, and really with all of the injuries it’s hard to stay consistent.  The Mavs will be lucky if they can get someone to replace the great attitude Simmons displayed, but really with his drop in production, they did find replacements.  He went from being the number one option his junior year to being the third options and sometimes even lower than that, but yes Simmons’ dunks, high flying blocks, and incredibly athletic steals will be missed and hard to replace.

Caleb Steffensmeier, 6-1 Senior

You want to talk about a guy that got pushed down the lineup due to transition?  Say hello to Caleb Steffensmeier.  He starts as a sophomore in year one of transition.  As a junior he gets pushed to the bench with junior college transfers Simmons and Phillips (who eventually also gets pushed to the bunch), and freshman guard Tyus.  Then his Senior year he’s probably moved even further down the bench with the addition of junior college transfer Patterson.

Steffensmeier wasn’t recruited to play division one basketball, none of these players that left really were.  He didn’t have great athleticism, he didn’t make the flashy plays, but he played smart and he played within himself.  He controlled the ball on offense when he came in off the bench and really could play at any tempo the Mavs wanted to play.  Steffensmeier was always good for one three pointer a game, and several times it was a huge three that would shift the game in the Mavs direction.  Really how can you not miss consistent clutch threes?