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August 19, 2013There were not of high points for the ULM men's basketball team in the 2012-13 season. The Warhawks posted just four wins in the season and made a first day exit from the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The team was continuing to recover from heavy APR sanctions levied against the program from the previous coaching era, but Head Coach Keith Richard has fought and clawed to make basketball better at his alma matter.
Helping with the recovery efforts is senior Jayon James. Llast season, the 6'6" forward led the team with six rebounds a game and finished third in scoring with nine points per contest. All of this in the most minutes played on the team; an average of 33 per game.
"Last year I really learned just how long the season was and really we learned what it takes to win," James said. "We didn't quite have the parts in place, but we were close. A lot of people sleep on the Sun Belt Conference, but it's a really tough conference."
James will see a new looking team in 2013, as he is just one of five Warhawks to see significant playing time last year that return.
"A lot of games last year, we had some close losses, mostly because we just didn't have enough able bodies to finish a game," he said. "Amos (Olatayo) and myself are always talking about how these new guys are going to put us overtop and ready to be atop the league this year."
Hard work and catching up nine new faces to the Warhawk way of basketball has been tough, but not at tough as James thought it would be.
"It's really been a pretty stress free off season," he said. "A lot of these guys coming in have played at the high level, in junior college and high school, so they are used to doing things big. I really think all great the new guys are great, but I really like Marvin Williams. He's got really good hands, finishes strong, and is quick. Another guy that's really impressed me is the freshman Nick (Coppola). He's really strong for a young guy. A lot of freshmen don't come in with the strength to compete right away; they get tossed around a lot, but not him."
The Warhawks will continue off season conditioning until September 27 when official practice begins in preparation for the November 8 game at Kansas to kick off the season.