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Saluki men’s basketball notebook

October 20, 2012

By Tom Weber
Saluki Media Services

Men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson delivered some bad news when he took the mic and addressed the crowd of 400 at Maroon Madness on Saturday night, saying a large number of players were out with injuries.

In speaking to the media later, he clarified the injury situation, estimating that Dantiel Daniels would be out five weeks, Josh Swan two weeks and Chase Heins eight weeks. Desmar Jackson turned an ankle earlier in the day and should be back at practice in a few days.

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Hinson said he keeps a record of every practice and classifies them as either “good” or “bad.” To date, he said the team has had nine practices, and eight of them have been good ones.

“That’s not bad for this time of year, and we’re really fatigued right now,” he said. “We’re going about two hours and 30 minutes a day, and that’s a lot when you don’t have subs.”

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The injuries to Daniels and Heins leaves SIU with just two eligible forwards. Davante Drinkard and Antonio Bryer will man the post position, behind a four-guard offense.

“We’re going to have to do what Whitey (Herzog) used to say — we’re going to have to play small ball,” Hinson said.

Hinson addresses the crowd at Maroon Madness.

He later asked for Divine intervention, saying, “I’m going to church in the morning to meet with a guy about (the injury situation) and throw a couple of requests up. As I tell my staff every morning when we have a new challenge, it’s just another day in Saluki Basketball.”

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Guards Kendal Brown-Surles, Jeff Early and Desmar Jackson have all impressed in practices so far. KBS is shooting the ball well in transition, Early continues to play with high energy, and Jackson looks smooth and skilled. Between the three, Southern has the makings of solid, veteran back court. Could this be the year a guard averages in double figures for the first time since Kevin Dillard in 2010?

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Although he’s been pleased with practice so far, Hinson was not so thrilled with the team’s practice performance during Maroon Madness.

“When the lights come on, fundamentals go out the window,” he said. “I told our guys to be energetic and crisp and try to be somewhat fundamentally sound, and we weren’t fundamentally sound.”

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True freshman forward Bola Olaniyan had a case of the nerves, Hinson said. The 6-foot-7 rookie, who will redshirt this season, missed at least three dunks.

“Our kid from Nigeria, he was scared to death,” Hinson said. “He missed every dunk tonight. The lights came on and he was scared to death, bless his heart.”

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Hinson said he foresees Brown-Surles stepping up as a team leader.

“I think your point guard always has to be one of your leaders, and certainly we’re hoping Kendal can achieve that,” he said. “We’d also like one of our big guys to do that, but the majority of them are non-verbal. We’re encouraging our big guys, especially Dantiel, to be more verbal, but that kind of takes time.”

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Of the four true freshmen, Anthony Beane, Jr., appears closest to being able to help the team this year. Hinson will wait until after the second exhibition game to make a decision on which players to redshirt.

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A couple players seem to have really benefited from the off-season strength program. Sophomores Antonio Bryer and Josh Swan (prior to his injury) both seem more powerful and explosive.

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