Projected Starting Lineup:
G – Xavier Pollard, Jr., 6’3” 190
G – Zarko Valjarevic, Jr., 6’4” 210
G/F – Garret Beal, Fr., 6’5” 200
F – Dimitry Akanda-Coronel, R-Fr., 6’4” 190
F – Till Gloger, Soph. 6’8” 220
For years, behind closed doors, Maine head coach Ted Woodward has blamed a lack of talent for the Black Bears lack of success.
At least now the reality will finally match the rhetoric.
Maine isn’t going to out-talent anyone outside of Lowell this year. That is a monumental problem for the Black Bears. For virtually all of Woodward’s time at the helm, the only way the program has won games is by simply being more physically gifted than their opponents. Maine has not been a team that has out-thought, out-worked, out-hustled, out-hearted, or out-executed its opponents.
And now, to paraphrase Rick Pitino, Alasdair Fraser and Justin Edwards aren’t walking through that door.
The Black Bears, of course, lost both Fraser, a 6’7” bruising-bull of strength and power and Edwards, a 6’3” high-flying pogo stick to early departures. Fraser turned pro while Edwards transferred to Kansas State. In addition to losing arguably the league’s best low post player and the league’s best athlete and most explosive player, Maine also lost 6’6” small forward Jon Mesghna, the team’s only efficient three-point shooter, to transfer.
In addition, 6’8” stretch-four Killian Kato, who would have been a junior, and incoming JUCO and one-time UAB forward Herb Harrison are also no longer listed on the Black Bears roster. Kato is reportedly serving an academic suspension and will be lost for at least half the year.
All-in-all, it’s an outright exodus in Orono.
Couple in the graduation of shot-blocking forward Mike Allison, the Black Bears’ cupboard is completely bare. Maine returns no seniors and just two players on their entire roster – juniors Xavier Pollard and Zarko Valjarevic — who have played major minutes at the Division I level. (more…)