Panthers Open Practice For 2012-13 Campaign
Oct. 12, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team took the court this afternoon at the Pavilion for its first official day of practice.
The Panthers have actually been working hard for some time, with conditioning work, weight-room workouts and on-court individual and team sessions underway for some time. But now the preparation for the 2012-13 season starts in earnest.
The first order of business will be to blend a solid group of returnees with a talented collection of newcomers. Milwaukee has three starters back and boasts a group of five seniors. But newcomers like point guard Jordan Aaron are also expected to have an immediate impact.
"We do have a nice core of guys that are back but we're going to have some new faces, and that's not always bad," head coach Rob Jeter said. "We just have to go out there and try to find the right guys. Every year, even though you have a returning group, you still have to get guys to buy into roles and sometimes each year their roles change. Chemistry is really important and this year we have some new faces to do it with."
The point guard position is certainly a key, as UWM will be without all-league performer Kaylon Williams. It took Williams just two seasons to become Milwaukee's all-time assists leader, and the Panthers advanced to the postseason in each of his two campaigns. But the hope is Aaron can seamlessly move into that spot.
"Right away you are going to see a difference in speed," Jeter said of Aaron. "Kaylon was very deceptive and very efficient and could really see the floor. Jordan is faster but he sees the floor similarly to Kaylon and he shoots the ball pretty well, too."
Earlier in the week, the Panthers were picked to finish sixth in the league and did not land a player on the 10-person all-league squad. But Milwaukee is relishing the chance to exceed expectations.
"A few years ago we had a couple unknown players, a new point guard and some guys that weren't quite on the all-league teams, and we battled to win the league," Jeter said. "Looking at that, it gives us some hope that maybe we can do it again."
UWM will play its lone exhibition game of the year Nov. 5 against UW-Parkside, while the regular season starts Nov. 9 against the University of Mary (ND).
The Panthers are playing all of their home games this season at the on-campus Klotsche Center, returning to make the venue their permanent home for the first time since the 2002-03 season. Full-season packages range in price from $75-$250, with limited opportunities available for courtside seating. Weekender packages are also available, with single-game tickets on sale later this month. For more information on ticket packages for the upcoming year, contact the ticket office at 414-229-5886.