The Hurricanes men’s basketball team looks to shake off last year’s 17-16 season and 7-11 ACC record. This came on the heels of the 2012-13 season, when the Canes charged their way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
This current squad will take the court, as there are no seniors and only two returning players from the 2013-14 season. This team is also one of the younger teams in the ACC.
Junior center Tonye Jekiri is the only player left from the Sweet 16 squad.
Head Coach Jim Larranaga said that through practice, the team is progressing and improving but has a long way to go.
“Some of the improvement has to be mental,” he said. “Most people think that it’s all about the physical effort, that nothing works without a great physical effort, but if you’re giving a physical effort but not doing the right things, then you don’t improve.”
Larranaga said the Canes need to be successful in non-conference play and take the early games just as intensely as ACC games.
Eyes will be on sophomore Manu Lecomte because he is the only returning guard for the 2014-15 season with 7.7 points and 2.3 assists his rookie year.
Angel Rodriguez leads the backcourt with an average of 11.4 points and 5.2 assists during his time at Kansas State.
Deandre Burnett learned from the bench last year after he injured his left wrist in an exhibition game, causing him to redshirt for the season.
“Last year was just a big learning process for everyone, I think. Even for the coaches,” Burnett said.
In August, the Canes competed in a 10-day excursion in Spain where they went 4-0 against Spanish professional club teams. This rip gave the younger players some more experience and practice before the start of the season.
“There’s a solid amount of talent on this team – the key for Coach L. and his staff will be developing chemistry over the course of the season, as many of these players have yet to play a game with UM yet,” said AJ Rickets, WVUM’s sports director who calls play-by-plays for the Canes.
The Canes will take on Eckerd College 7 p.m. Thursday at the BankUnited Center. Admission is free, but a ticket will be required for entry. The promotion offered for this game is the “Select-A-Seat” campaign, which allows fans to pick seats and purchase mini game plans.
The regular season competition will begin on Nov. 14 against Howard University.