UNF Men’s Basketball season preview

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

Video by: Brett Nweeia

The Birds of Trey are back in action as the UNF Men’s Basketball team begins their season on Tuesday, November 5 against the No. 6 Florida Gators in Gainesville. 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIESL89vUEY[/embedyt]

A major asset for the team this season will be experience, according to UNF Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matthew Driscoll, as all five of their starters from last season are returning.

“As a coach, having that kind of experience, defensively, in our principle, will bode well for us and help us down the stretch,” Coach Driscoll said. 

The reigning ASUN Defensive Player of the Year, Wajid Aminu, returns for his senior season and reflected on his favorite defender to match up with in his four year career, Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon. 

“Coach told me that this guy most likely was going to go in the first round,” Aminu said. “I wasn’t exactly on him the whole game, but the times that I was on him, he didn’t really get much off on me so it was fun to compete against him.”

The Ospreys are coming off a 16-17 (9-7 ASUN) record last season where they won seven out of their last eight games. The one loss was when they were eliminated by Liberty in the semifinals of the ASUN Conference Championship tournament. 

Ivan Gandia-Rosa is back for his senior season after leading the ASUN in assists (192), which was sixteenth in the NCAA. 

A key piece in the Osprey’s three-point attack is JT Escobar, who is also a senior this year. The guard led the team in treys with 76. 

Carter Hendricksen stepped up last season as a freshman and filled a hole in the starting lineup, scoring in double figures in six games. 

Garrett Sams rounds out the starting five as one of the four year seniors at UNF. Sams looks to improve on his shooting this year and take better care of the ball. 

“I’m trying to be more consistent with everything I do and I want to up my assist-to-turnover ratio,” Sams said. “I also want to shoot at a higher percentage from three and be more efficient from every aspect.” 

With a non-conference schedule that begins with SEC juggernaut, Florida, the Birds of Trey look to live up to their name and drain it from deep on their road to March Madness. 


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