Ray Harper says scheduling is ‘difficult’ as men’s basketball finishes its first week of practice

Forward/guard Kanye Henry (11) defends the ball from Morehead State on Jan. 25. (Grace Cockrell/JSU)Forward/guard Kanye Henry (11) defends the ball from Morehead State on Jan. 25. (Grace Cockrell/JSU)

Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent

The Jacksonville State men’s basketball team finished up their first week of practice last week.

The NCAA decided in September that both men’s and women’s basketball season can begin on Nov. 25. The schedule for the men’s basketball team has not been finalized yet, however Ray Harper, head coach of the JSU men’s basketball team, said the athletic department is “getting close to being able to finish it.”

“Scheduling has been difficult,” said Harper. “With COVID and moving up with dates, we lost eight games for sure that we had. So right now, we’re a month away and still need two games.”

With the team finishing up with their first week of practice, Harper discussed the key to a successful season this year and how the team can improve from last year.

“We need to continue to get better each day,” said Harper. “We got in trouble last year, we just didn’t value the ball. We turned the ball over too much and hopefully we can be better with that this year, but we’ve got a good group and we’ll see how they get better each day.”

Asked what players said to look out for, Harper said to simply “get a game program.”

“We’ve got so many new guys, you should try to learn about these guys,” he said.
“We’ve got size, we’ve got athleticism, I think we’ll be a fun group to watch. I think it’ll be a group that will get better over the course of the season as well.”

One player in particular to look out for is forward/guard Kanye Henry, who started 25 games last season and appeared in 32, averaging 11.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. 

Another couple of players to look out for are Brandon Huffman, a senior transfer from North Carolina, and Amanze Ngumezi, a junior transfer from Georgia. Both players received waivers to play immediately for the Gamecocks.

Asked how the team was looking compared to last year, Harper said that, “we have more size, more athleticism, we’re longer, which in turn, should make us a better defensive team. I hope that’s the case, but only time will tell.”

“Come watch these guys when you get the opportunity,” he said. “They’re going to be a fun group. I know we all want to get back to as much normalcy as we can, and we’d love to see as many people as we can at Pete Matthews come November and December.”

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