Richard Barron is the first to confess that his University of Maine guys’s basketball team is a secret until it actually faces some opposition this season.

After five video games were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Bears’ first opportunity to evaluate themselves versus another person comes this weekend with back-to-back matches at America East rival Hartford.

UMaine has only 4 players on its 16-player lineup above the sophomore level and its most seasoned rival, senior forward Miks Antoms, is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

2 All-America East third-team players, Andrew Fleming and Sergio El Darwich, were amongst the graduates from last winter season’s 9-22 club. That duo integrated for 29.1 points per video game.

That group’s third-leading scorer, forward Nedeljko Prijovic, returned house to Serbia rather of returning for his senior season out of coronavirus issues and to help his household by pursuing an expert basketball profession.

UMaine lost 63 percent of its scoring from last season. The leading returning scorer is senior forward Vilgot Larsson, who averaged 6.3 points per game.

UMaine should depend on offending perseverance to manage the shot clock and use ball motion and offensive execution to create open shots while limiting the number of challenger belongings.

” We’re a group that when our helps are high we’re playing well,” said Barron, whose group ranked 3rd in America East last winter season with 13.81 assists per video game. “We run a group offense, we’re really evenly distributed in our scoring.”

Where a late start to its season, a youthful roster and offending unpredictability leave the Black Bears in their continuing quest for upward movement in America East is unidentified as the conference schedule starts.

That’s not as essential to Barron as where they stand later on in the season, a Bill Belichickian approach to progressive lineup building that UMaine advocates hope will cause a competitive season.

It could be a daunting task.

UMaine was picked to end up tied with Binghamton for last in the 10-school America East by coaches in the preseason poll. That’s no genuine surprise given that the Black Bears have actually completed eighth each of the last 4 years and have been no higher than sixth given that 2013.

The program has actually not won a postseason video game given that 2005 coming off its 61-50 AE quarterfinal obstacle March 7 at Vermont. That was UMaine’s fifth straight tournament loss to the Catamounts, the preseason favorites again this year.

Returning players like Larsson and Stephane Ingo wish to start turning that around.

Ingo, a 6-9 redshirt sophomore forward from Mississauga, Ontario, came on strong late last winter season, emerging as one of the league’s better rim protectors. The group captain ranked among the league leaders in blocked shots for a group that was second in the conference because classification and in steals.

The 6-8 Larsson is explained by Barron as UMaine’s a lot of consistent player, and his scoring punch will be required on a team that ranked last in the conference last winter season with 61.4 points per game.

Others anticipated to contribute in advance for the Black Bears are 6-9 redshirt freshman Ata Turgut, 6-9 sophomore Veljko Radakovic and 6-7 redshirt junior captain Solomon Iluyomade. The latter has been plagued by injury throughout his first 2 years at UMaine and might be limited in his minutes, particularly early in the season.

Amongst the newcomers intending to assist the Black Bears, though he’ll miss out on at least the season opener against Hartford due to a concealed injury, is 6-6 freshman Matt Fleming. The 2019 Mr. Maine Basketball from Bangor played last winter for the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point, New York.

Fleming may assist UMaine from beyond the arc as the Black Bears shot a league-low 28.1 percent from 3-point land last season.

Long-range aid also could originate from redshirt junior guard Mykhailo Yagodin, who has revealed flashes from the boundary while rebounding from an ACL tear that restricted him to one game two years ago.

Other returning guards are sophomores Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish, Precious Okoh and Taylor Schildroth of Blue Hill.

2 freshmen, 5-11 Lechaun Duhart and 6-1 Adefolarin “Fofo” Adetogun, provide promise at point player.

” Lechaun has an excellent, quick release on his shot,” Barron said. “He’s a smaller guard but truly a skilled scorer and a very unselfish gamer. [Fofo] appearances like a linebacker in the NFL. He’s truly developed, he’s a hard matchup and he has some versatility.”

3 other freshmen, guard Matias Prock and forwards Wol Maiwen of Auburn and Leyton Bickford of Sanford, wish to contribute as they acquire experience.

“I believe we have to take a long-lasting approach to this and hope we can think about some sort of postseason competition atmosphere where we are actually judging how great we remain in February or early March and not how excellent we are today,” Barron said.