MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – University won its season opener over East Fairmont but Hawks head coach Joe Schmidle wants to see more out of his team.
That’s because the team is full of athletes and he knows what they’re capable of doing.
“We have a combination of basketball players and what I would call athletes. A lot of multi-sport athletes,” Schmidle said.
The team returns a handful of players with experience. Two of those players including Aaron Forbes and Garrison Kisner.
Both Kisner and Forbes bring size and leadership to the team.
“One good thing about their size, they’re both really good passers and they work really well together. we’ve got a little better outside game then we had last year. just about everybody can shoot the three ball and that should help open up some things inside for those two,” Schmidle said.
Schmidle said Forbes has taken a big leadership role this season.
“Aaron Forbes who is going on to the next level to play baseball. He’s our leader on the floor. A 6’6 kid, plays really well around the basket. He’s been averaging a double-double. He’s really stepped his game up and taking a leadership role,” Schmidle said.
Kisner is another to watch. With his 6’6 frame and ability to go inside and shoot from the outside- you can’t miss him.
“Garrison Kisner is very athletic. Another 6’6 kid, plays above the rim. He’s improved a lot last year and improved his range,” Schmidle said.
Kisner has to take on a bigger role this season also. He said the team needs to focus on defense and the scoring comes with being patient.
“I would say defense. Defense is the main key but on offense, we need to hit our shots, move the ball, but mainly defense. I think whenever we move the ball and not be super fast, take one shot, just be patient, 6-7 passes then we’ll get a good shot and we usually make it. Me and Forbes will be down there if they miss it, we’ll get the rebound,” Kisner said.
But that’s not all that this Hawks team has. Referring back to the term athletic, two of the U’s football team members make an impact on the hardwood as well.
“Jaeden Hammack and Elija Jackson, two football players. They bring a lot of skill and quickness to the team. Jaeden in particular is really good on the defensive side of the ball,” Schmidle said.
Two players who had the potential to either start or play major varsity minutes transferred after last season. Schmidle said those players transferring give another players opportunities to play more and they’ll have to step up.
“Anytime that things like that happen, those doors close but it opens up opportunities for other players. I think with Grant Cavalier and Diego Reyes, especially, they’ve realized what they needed to do and they’ve really put in the work and the time to get better because they knew we were going to have to count on them and they weren’t just going to be role players anymore,” Schmidle said.
Schmidle may not have been entirely impressed with his team’s performance against East Fairmont, but he likes what he’s been seeing at practice.
“In practice, I’ve liked the teamwork the kids have showed and their ability to play defense and they’ve just done a really good job in defense and dribble penetration and some things that we really work on,” Schmidle said.
The Hawks look to put it all together on Tuesday when they host Bridgeport.