UMKC ‘tips off’ with second annual dinner

The UMKC men’s basketball program hosted its second annual ’Roos Basketball Tip-Off Dinner last Tuesday at the Sprint Center with Kansas Jayhawks Head Coach Bill Self as keynote speaker.
With one month until the 2014-15 season begins, UMKC men’s basketball Head Coach Kareem Richardson believes this year’s roster has the talent to improve last year’s overall record of 10-20.
Nearly 50 percent of last year’s team graduated, but Richardson recruited talent he said he believes fits the style of play he is looking for, and expressed excitement to see what this year’s team brings to the table.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our team and what these guys have accomplished thus far in terms of the willingness to learn and take our teaching.” Richardson said.
Self gave UMKC’s team words of encouragement for the upcoming season, and emphasized long-term growth as an important factor in building a successful team. He said he began his coaching career with a negative overall record of 5-21 in his inaugural year at Oral Roberts.
“I’m excited for you guys,” Self said. “I’m excited that you get to be in a city that is questioning your talent and what you’re going to do. I am excited for you because you have a bunch of unproven guys and many newcomers, so no one knows how good you will be.”
Self has led the Kansas Jayhawks to two national championships in the last seven years.
“Building something you take ownership in from day one is very special,” Self said. “This is a great opportunity for Coach Richardson and his staff to mold this team. He has a great opportunity to rally a city that you may not think supports you the way it should.”
Richardson also announced the team captains for UMKC’s second year in the Western Athletic Conference.
Richardson, the coaching staff and players voted three players as captains: redshirt senior Reese Holliday from Kansas City, Kan., redshirt junior Shayok Shayok from Ontario, Canada and sophomore guard Martez Harrison from Kansas City, Mo. Harrison led the team last year in scoring, assists and steals, was named WAC Freshman of the Year and selected for the WAC All-Newcomer Team.
“It is a very important and prestigious honor [to be named caption],” Richardson said. “It means a lot because you are held accountable for many things. Reese brings that toughness, Shayok brings an unbelievable work ethic and leadership, while Martez brings a tremendous and competitive spirit.”
The ’Roos will open the season on Nov. 8 against the Rockhurst Hawks in an exhibition game at Municipal Auditorium at 7:05 p.m.

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