Mid-season means addressing issues

U-News Staff

The UMKC men’s basketball team (3-5) is currently sixth place in the Western Athletic Conference.

While they have done a good job thus far at home, winning both of their games at the Municipal auditorium, they have had some troubles on the road. These troubles need to be corrected as soon as possible, considering the team won’t be able to play at home again until Dec. 13 when Omaha comes into town.

With conference play not beginning until Jan. 10, the ’Roos have 10 games until those games begin. This gives them some time to right the ship after four tough losses in the last five games.

Starting center Shayok Shayok expressed how important and “hungry” the team is to win in South Dakota and get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Starting in his first season after former center Fred Chatmon graduated last year, Shayok has responded well: he averages 26.9 minutes, 7.7 rebounds, and 9.4 points on .574 percent shooting per game.

Martez Harrison is another player to watch out for, not just as a standout for the ’Roos but also in competition for this year’s WAC MVP.  He is picking up right where he left off after an outstanding individual season last year where he averaged 17.2 points and recorded 114 total assists.

In eight games he has already accumulated 37 assists and is averaging 17.8 points per game, which is second in the conference to Texas-Pan American’s Janari Joejarr.

Having only two returning starters from last season and three returners from the entire roster, UMKC has been integrating an entirely new team by building chemistry, camaraderie and an attitude of winning.

Even in defeat, the expectation of winning shows on the court. Players like guard Reese Holliday look to be an outstanding weapon for the Kangaroos both offensively and defensively as consistent scorers, He is a defender with strength and a tenacious rebounder at that shooting guard position.

Holliday is no stranger to strong competition at this level, having played for Toledo before transferring to Kansas City. He has the ability to contribute to Richardson’s team.

Returning forward Frank Williams also gives the Blue & Gold a nice threat from deep with his well documented sharp shooting. He has the ability to keep the opposing defenses honest, giving guards like Harrison room to drive the paint.

Big bodies like Thaddeus Smith and Darius Austin have done a decent job of providing basket protection, especially with Austin’s shot blocking and ability to force turnovers. Broderick Newbill and Deshon Taylor provide great spark to the team, as their hustle and impact on the game is clear.

The ’Roos have shown that they can play and win the tough games. Despite hitting a skid as of late and losing some close ones, they have time to fix what has been hindering them and still look poised to make a lot of noise in the conference.

UMKC will visit Iowa State at 6 p.m. tomorrow before hosting Omaha on Saturday at the Municipal Auditorium.