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With college basketball season only a month away, Radford University’s men’s basketball team has officially been spotted on the court. As apart of the anticipation of this upcoming season, the team has particularly been focused on perfecting their shots, as well as building muscle in the weight room. When approached about his expectations for the team this year, Head Coach, Mike Jones, was nothing but optimistic. Coach Jones will be entering his third season at RU, and he expects to see nothing less than his players’ best efforts and attitudes put forward, on and off of the court.
“We are exactly where we envisioned we would be when we took over head coaching duties in June 2011. My expectations for our coaches and players are to continue improving everyday and to live our team culture everyday,” said Jones.
While the players are currently having to face a very rigorous schedule, this will only help the Highlanders achieve more in the long run. “The schedule provides many challenges because we will play good teams in hostile environments,” Jones commented. “This years schedule is very tough. It’s a lot tougher than last year’s schedule and will really test us to see how much we have progressed as a team and a program.” The Highlanders are set up to play in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Nov. 16-23, where they will be up against Santa Clara, UNLV (University of Nevada: Las Vegas), Sacred Heart, and either FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) or FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University). The Highlanders are also set to play Virginia Tech, RU’s classic foe, on Nov.29– a game surely not to miss.
Coach Jones is particularly excited to see what his junior class will do this season, since they were freshmen when he first began coaching at RU. “Our plan was to throw them in the fire as freshmen and let them cut their teeth on the court. We knew they would make mistakes then and in their second year, but the hope was that by their third year they would be battle tested. So here we are and we will see.” Junior guard R.J. Price, who finished the year with 397 points and 32 steal, and junior Javonte Green, who finished the year with 439 points, 61 steals and 23 blocks, both look to have another electrifying season on the court. “We just want to get better each game in order to put ourselves in position to be in the Big South Championship in Myrtle Beach,” said Price.
RU is also committed to the development of the athlete on and off the court. “We want young men of character in our program and we search for that in the guys we recruit,” Jones said. “Once they are here, we try very hard to develop that character even more. I do that through discipline and mentoring.”
Be sure to fill the Dedmon Center and catch the Highlanders in action as they open up the season at home on Nov. 11 vs. Chattanooga.