Marist senior Chavaughn Lewis and redshirt sophomore Khallid Hart have been getting used to changes in the way they play.
Mike Maker is the third head coach each of them will have played under at Marist and during the summer the players have learned to adapt to Maker’s style.
“They’re telling us that it’s going to be a process,” Hart said of the message from the coaching staff from the summer workouts. “They’re teaching us the whole, then they’re going to break it down to the individual parts and really going to reincorporate it back to the whole. We’re just going through that process and we’re going to see where it takes us.”
Maker’s system has had results other levels. He made the Division III national championship game and earned a reputation of a skilled offensive coach. He will try to use that to fix the Red Foxes offensive woes from last season when they ranked ninth in scoring offense in the MAAC, averaging 68.4 points per game.
While Marist started 0-9 last season, it was hardly a lost cause for the program’s top two scorers. The Red Foxes won five of six during the early part of February and closed out the regular season with a blowout win over third place Quinnipiac.
“I think in the previous years we played as individuals and I think last year’s season showed us when we play together we could be successful,” Lewis said. “I think we started to realize that and started to play together and I think this year we will have a carry over.”
The team concept is perfect for Maker’s style, where similar to most Princeton hybrids, learning every position is equally important. Though it hasn’t taken long for the players to believe, as they have seen results as they learn where they should be on the court.
“We sit here in the workouts and we go through the actions, and we actually have to guard it, it’s like unstoppable,” Hart said. “We can’t even guard it and I think that’s actually what we needed.”
Lewis said that in the past their offensive systems were more “free-based” and that Maker’s structured offense will help the team in the long run.
“I’ve realized that having a structured offense and playing within the system would be more successful for us because of the fact that we need to play more together,” Lewis said. “I think that a structure based offense would be really good.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.