Coach Weiberg’s competitive bunch

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Coach Brett Weiberg’s first season at the helm was like a roller coaster ride. The season started off promising, but injuries, eligibility issues and lack of team chemistry ultimately derailed their season.
Weiberg is back for his second year and feels a lot more comfortable than before. After losing some key seniors, he had to find more players that could fit his style of play.
Weiberg was able to pitch Missouri Western to players from all over the country. Headlining this year’s class were two players from Toronto, Canada.
Forward Kevin Thomas will add some much needed size to the Griffons roster, while guard Aaron Emmanuel will bring a defensive presence to the new look squad.
Coach Weiberg was able to pick up recruits in Texas and Iowa as well, adding to a team that looks to improve in the conference.
Returners include guards Ryan Devers, Cortrez Colbert and forward Dareon Jones.
Devers led the Griffons in the majority of the team’s statistics a season ago. He averaged 17.4 points a game, while also leading the conference in free throw percentage.
Colbert was the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points game. The duo, teamed with Emmanuel, has shown promise early and a willingness to share the ball.
As of now, both Devers’ and Colbert’s PPG averages iare down from a year ago. Tuesday, Devers had his highest scoring game of the season. He dropped 20 points against Hannibal-LaGrange, while going 4-8 from behind the arc.
Devers said that he has been working on his shot and he is trying to improve his shooting percentage from last year.
“I feel confident in my shot, because I have been putting in a lot work,” Devers said. “Once one player is going, it’s like a confidence booster for yourself to get going.”
Last year, Devers felt the team lacked the will to compete. He believes that the vibe will not be the same with this group of guys.
“You can expect a high volume of competition,” Devers said. “Before the tip off, the starting five, we make a huddle. And today we said we did not want to lose. We lost three, we do not need four.”
Freshman forward Seth Bonifas had his first double-double of the season Tuesday night, recording 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Bonifas believes that the team was anxious to get on the court after losing close games last weekend.
“We brought energy to this game,” Bonifas said. “We have been preparing ever since the Drury game and we wanted to get back to the floor as soon as we could.”
Turnovers have been an issue early on, but Bonifas said that they are recognizing and correcting their mistakes in practice every day.
“We work on taking care of the ball in practice and we knew we had to play smart, as well as hard,” Bonifas said. “We had to bring the mental part of the game and that’s what we did tonight.”
Forward Dareon Jones noted that, with all the new changes, he believes he still has a role on this team.
“I think I fit in pretty well,” Jones said. “We’re working on some things, but after we get it together I think we should be pretty good.”
Saturday the Griffons travel to Hay, Kan. where they will match up against the Tigers of Fort Hays. This will be their first conference game of the season.

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