Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two weeks until first MSU basketball practice

Oct. 15, the first day of practice for Division II men's and women's basketball teams, is approaching fast, and it sounds like Minnesota State will have another version of midnight celebration to beginning of the season.

Bumped into a pair of incoming transfers — seniors Andre Gilbert and A.J. Wilson — this week at the Timberwolves practices, and they sure look the part.

Gilbert is 6-8 and long, while Wilson is about the same height but a little thicker. Gilbert played at Kansas State two years ago before sitting out since then, and Wilson played at Murray State last season, watching from the bench as the Racers made a short run in the NCAA tournament.

Last season, Jefferson Mason was clearly the most athletic player on the Mavericks' roster. Word is that's no longer the case.

You can debate coach Matt Margenthaler's strategy of bringing in a couple of one-year players, but you can't argue with his ability to find very talented athletes. It remains to be seen if he can get all this individual talent to flourish into team success.

The Mavericks don't have a lot of size, but the Northern Sun has become a league of guards and forwards. With Mason, Marcus Hill, Cameron Hodges, Taylor Morrow and Joe Drapcho, there is plenty of returning talent to mesh with the newcomers.

It seems that outside of the program, expectations are a little lower this season. It's doubtful the coaches and players feel that way. We'll see on Oct. 15.

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