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Youth leads men's basketball to 3-2 start
Dan Lenzen
Antelope Staff
Photo by A Sanam Bhaila
Senior center Josiah Parker of Lincoln goes up and slams home a dunk against Fort Hays State. Parker has been a bright spot for the Lopers this season, among the team leaders in points, rebounds and blocks per game.
Photo by A Sanam Bhaila
Sophomore guard Max Froelich of Pierce puts up a free throw against Hastings College.

The theme of the 2009-10 UNK men’s basketball team will be youth and inexperience. The team will have four returning starters from last year’s team, and the rest of the players are very young.

The returning starters are: senior guard Max Froehlich from Pierce, freshman guard Akeem Morissant from Delray Beach, Fla., junior forward Chris Deans from Hemingford, and senior center Josiah Parker from Lincoln.

Parker is the only senior on the team.

The team will be looking to replace the production of Drake Beranek, who transferred to UNL to play for a Division I program in the upcoming season. Beranek was the leading scorer and team leader last season.

The returning squad will step up, the coach says. “We just have guys last year who were role players for us who will have to step up for us this year and be key players. Froehlich and Parker will be key,” co-head coach Kevin Lofton said.

Lofton said that the team is going to have a little more strength in depth than last year. “Last year where we could only play six to seven guys, this year we think we can play a few more,” Lofton said.

The coaches are looking to younger players to step up to fill leadership roles. “Youth will be our biggest weakness. With just four returning starters from last year, we have a lot of new faces. We are counting on our four guys with starting experience to lead us playing at least 23 minutes per game. We need a lot of production out of those guys,” Lofton said. According to Lofton, this year’s team is going to be more of an up-tempo, motion style offense, with a man-to-man defensive scheme.   

So far this season the team has a 3-2 overall record getting their most recent victory Nov. 18 over Hastings College 87-84.

Coach Lofton says that out of the 14 RMAC schools the two best teams will probably be New Mexico Highlands and Fort Hays State. “Those two teams should be pretty good. They have some really good players, and they are always usually pretty tough,” Lofton said.

Lofton said the goals and expectations for this year’s team will be just to get better and improve as the season goes along. “We have a young team this year. Our four returning starters have been leaders for us and need to continue to be leaders for us. We just need to get better as the year goes along,” Lofton said.

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