UNO men’s hoops ready for first big road trip

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November 19th, 2014

Omaha, NE – University of Nebraska at Omaha men’s basketball head coach Darrin Hansen knows what it takes to field a competitive team.

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Hansen coached teams that made NCAA Division-II Tournament appearances and his teams also had two D-II conference championships. But Hansen’s Mavericks are trying to take another step forward after a 17-15 overall record and a 5-9 mark in the Summit League last year. This also included a trip to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) tourney and a win against North Dakota 91-75.

“I just to build upon last year and continue build upon what we’ve done here as a program, to look forward to next year, first years of eligibility and the first year in a new arena,” Hansen said.

Omaha Central grad and freshman forward Tre'Shawn Thurman warms up before practice Tuesday at the Sapp Fieldhouse (Photo Courtesy Brandon McDermott)

Omaha Central grad and freshman forward Tre’Shawn Thurman warms up before practice Tuesday at the Sapp Fieldhouse (Photo Courtesy Brandon McDermott)

UNO is in the final year of a five year transition period, where they aren’t eligible for the NCAA tournament. Hansen knows his team’s success will rely on a bevy of talented players. But he singled out his small senior class, guard CJ Carter and Forward Mike Rostampour.

“CJ is a very talented Omaha kid, him wanting to come here and he’s having a really good four year career, that is important to us,” Hansen said. “I think that leads to other area kids wanting to come here. CJ has really led by example since he got there. Mike has just brought an everyday presence and a no nonsense attitude when it comes to games and practices.”

Hansen said Carter was originally recruited to UNO when they were a D-II program, before UNO’s transfer to D-I. But UNO stuck with the scholarship offer to Carter, and Hansen said it has paid dividends. Carter averaged a team high 13.5 ppg last year and he scored 22 points in the win over Central Arkansas.

“CJ has been great in the weight room, he’s put on the necessary weight, he’s been great within our system, but his skill development as an individual player has been off the charts,” Hansen said. “Our coaches have done a wonderful job with CJ and he has reaped those benefits.”

UNO’s first game of the season, this past weekend, was a 100-75 win for the Mavs over Central Arkansas. Hansen was impressed with his team’s ability to rebound in the game, the Mavs held a 51-25 advantage. He said he wants to see his squad continue to progress in what he called an important first road challenge.

“I’d like to take another step from what we did the other day,” Hansen said. “I’d like to be more consistent for sure; I’d also like to take another step consistency wise with fewer breakdowns, less mistake, less thinking and more reacting. I’d like to see us take a scouting report to the floor and see how we can execute that.”

UNO plays Seattle University tonight at 9pm at the KeyArena in Seattle. Then the Mavs travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Saturday to take on Marquette at the BMO Harris Bradley Center at 1:30pm.

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