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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Men’s basketball earns No. 22 pre-season national ranking

Published: November 20, 2009
Section: Sports

The men’s basketball team, currently ranked 22nd in the nation by, will look to start off where they left off last year.

After finishing with an 18-9 record and making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, the team hopes to improve despite having a smaller group of only ten players this year.

“We don’t have a lot of depth. We’ve got to stay away from the flu and foul trouble,” said head coach Brian Meehan.

Two newcomers, JoJo Grossbard ‘11 and Warren Hazel ’13, join the squad of eight returning players. Meehan is pleased with the work ethic of the new players, but instead will look to his veterans to contribute the most in the beginning of the season.

“The two new guys have a lot to learn, and they’re working hard, and they’re doing a good job in scrimmages so far, but early in the year we’re really going to ride those eight guys [returning players],” Meehan said.

Leading the team are five seniors: Andre Roberson, John Weldon, Terrell Hollins, Richard Magee, and Kenny Small.

Other returning players, such as Vytas Kriskus ’12 will look to step up and be asked to play more minutes this year.

“As a team we just need to improve our defense. And as far as offense goes, get everybody together, get everybody on the same page, and as long as we do that we’ll be fine,” Kriskus said.

“Some of the goals that were looking to improve upon [are] doing a lot of the little things better that we didn’t do as well last year as far as rebounding the ball, keeping the turnovers down, getting free throws,” said Assistant Coach Eric McKoy

Meehan is confident that despite a smaller team than last year, players will step up and rise to the occasion.

“There’s a lot more of a feeling of being comfortable with their roles this year than in the past.”

The Judges will start of their season with two home games next week against Lasell College on Tuesday and Emerson College on Saturday.

“Right off the bat to Lasell last year we lost over at their place by two in a tough game, so [if] we can grab that win we’re one game ahead,” Meehan said.

Meehan noted that although the ranking is a nice honor, much of the hard work still lies ahead, and the team will need to stay focused to improve upon a strong season last year.

Commenting about the pre season ranking, Meehan said, “it’s nice because people recognize that we have a strong program and that we had a good season last year, and so they’re giving us the benefit of the doubt, and ultimately it comes down to how you play.”

“We don’t care where we’re ranked at the beginning, it’s where we’re ranked at the end,” he said.