EMMITSBURG- Watching his team race windidly up and down the court during the first half of their 20-minute scrimmage, Jamion Christian sat at half-court in the cushioned blue chairs of Knott Arena. Letting his assistants do the coaching, he was as relaxed as a head coach could possibly be – with his right arm around the chair next to him and phone in his left – nitpicking out notes about his team.
Returning leading scorer, Byron Ashe, was doing his nightly thing – putting the ball in the cup in a variety of ways. Junior Robinson, the 5-foot-7 roadrunner lead guard, darted passes on a string to teammates like he did for all 30 games of last year.
“I’m just happy to see our guys get out here with some referees,” Christian said. “The NCAA made some rule changes this year, so we’ll continue to adjust to that.”
Some notable rule changes for the 2015-2016 season include the shot clock being reduced from 35 seconds to 30 seconds and referees will be a tad stricter on calling handchecks.
“I’m proud of them for going out here and not foul too much with the new changes,” Christian said.
Coming off of a season in which they went 15-15 overall – 11-7 in the NEC – good enough for fourth, the Mount return 15 of 17 players on their roster from last year.
“I’ve seen a big improvement in their composure,” Christian said. “You can coach those things. As they get more minutes, the experience will come.”
The White squad which featuered returning point guard Junior Robinson and stretch forward Gregory Graves defeated the Blue squad that had leading scorer, Byron Ashe, 86-77.
Robinson started all 30 games last year at the lead guard position as a freshman. Saturday night he showed tremendous facilitating ability – dishing out nine assists during the scrimmage.
“He’s an explosive player,” Christian said. “We’re excited about his ability to make plays and is ability to get his teammates involved.”
The first-team All-NEC guard and leading scorer from the 2014-2015 campaign (11.9 PPG), Ashe, returned to his hallmark scoring ways – going 11 for 19 from the floor and dropping 27 points.
“Byron is a dynamic scorer,” Christian said. “He looked good defensively and I loved how he led his team in the second half.”
Sophomore forward, Chris Way, registered a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds. Christian noted that Way will see more of an expanded role only averaging 1.2 points per game last year.
Senior 7-foot center, Taylor Danaher, grabbed 11 rebounds and Graves recorded a double-double – 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mountaineers are anxiously counting down the days until tipoff – 27 until they square off with the third ranked team in the nation just down the road, Maryland Terrapins.
“We’re going to back and watch film from the scrimmage,” Christian said. “I liked what I saw. The goal is just to keep getting better.”
You can follow me on Twitter at @k_fadd and Maryland Sports Access at @MDSportsAccess.