Men's basketball set to start practice next Friday

Oct. 5, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's an anxious time at Swisher Gymnasium. There is excitement in the air in the basketball offices as practice is just a week away, with the Dolphins hitting the floor for the first time on Oct. 13.

The preseason practices will take on extra meaning this season as second-year head coach Cliff Warren breaks in a young team that will be adjusting to the college game.

It is a very young team, but one that features a lot of talent which will get better with experience. JU will run out a roster that features six freshmen and 11 underclassmen, with Warren's fingerprints all over it. Eight of the underclassmen are recruits signed by Warren since his arrival to the First Coast just over a year ago.

"I'm excited to start practice and get the season going," Warren said. "The guys have put in a lot of work in the weight room over the summer and have come in on their own to workout in the gym. It's exciting to see these young men working hard and we're ready to get them together and see where we can go."

Year two of the Warren Era has already picked up some big wins during the offseason. Point guard Jesse Kimbrough received a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA after suffering a season-ending injury early last year.

To top it off, Warren signed a stellar recruiting class that will figure prominently in JU's success this year.

"Nobody's spot is safe," Warren said. "We're starting practice with everyone at the same place and working for their playing time. The new guys are hungry and want to play, which is going to push our veterans to get better if they want to keep their place in the lineup.

"I'm not as concerned about who starts, but it's who finishes that is important. I know everyone wants to start, but it is the guys who finish that are going to be making the plays that can win or lose games."

The Dolphins open the season on the road at Savannah State on Nov. 12, with JU's return Downtown set for Nov. 14 against St. Leo's.

Season ticket drive underway: The JUAA's annual season ticket drive is underway with a lot of interest being generated by the Dolphins' move Downtown to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season tickets are available now for as little as $100 for all 13 men's home games as well as all of the women's home games as well. To order tickets, contact Carter Henderson in the JU ticket office at (904) 256-7407.

Game time change: The Dolphins game against Florida Tech on Nov. 25 will be tipping off at Noon as JU will have a "Business Day Special." The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. "Moving the game time gives all of the people that work Downtown a chance to come out for lunch and watch some basketball before the Thanksgiving weekend," said Alan Verlander, JU's Director of Athletics.