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Running and Rebounding

As the 2017-18 basketball season is shaping up, the Cougars are hoping to focus on daily growth instead of outcome-driven goals.

Head Coach Jared Ronai is encouraging the team to have a “1-0 approach.”

“Our approach is to be 1-0 each and every day,” Ronai said. “We have to make 1-0 winning decisions that guide our preparation on and off the floor. This also means our coaching staff has to be intentional and purposeful with our young men.”

One of the biggest advantages this year is how well the team has bonded on and off the court.

This year’s team has “done an incredible job of growing together within our culture,” Ronai said. “I believe those relationships are going to help us have a very cohesive team chemistry which will be a big strength.”

The Cougars will still play in the similar fast-paced style that fans have seen before. Ronai said he wants people to be impressed with the Cougars’ effort and intensity, regardless of the outcome of a game.

“We want to emphasize rebounding and running, moving and sharing the ball on the offensive end, and disrupting teams with our effort and pressure on the defensive end of the floor,” Ronai said.

The team has 10 players returning, including lone senior Joe Schmitz, a strong outside shooter who hit 48.5 percent of his threes last season. Schmitz is a guard who played significant minutes in the Cougars backcourt last year.

The team features a core group of juniors, including Brett Vipperman, Jeremiah Roberts, Todd Entenmann, Emmett Fraley and Jordi Mas.

Vipperman led the team in scoring last year with 14.4 points per game. He was second in rebounds with 5.1 per game.

Ronai noted that “every returner has a great feel for our culture and system of play. This is going to allow each of them to impact our program in their own respective positive ways.”

Incoming freshmen include Jevon Knox, Gage Barone, Alex Johnson, Jay Joseph, David Delahunty, and Tyrice Walker Jr who “have done a terrific job growing and improving.” All six have the potential to impact the team, Ronai said.

The men are 2-1 going into tonight’s game against Rio Grande.

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