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 Smallwood, 6-2, 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
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.