Building on Success

Under the guidance of coach Scott Cross, Mavericks seek to continue winning ways

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Leading the Mavericks to a record 24 wins and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament last year has given men’s basketball coach Scott Cross a taste for more.

I think our success helps give our kids confidence that we can win a championship,” he says. “Our coaching staff is aware that players tend to relax after a successful year, so we’ve been even more intense and demanding on our guys.”

Returning starters Kevin Butler and Jordan Reves combined for nearly 20 points a game last season and are providing senior leadership. Yahoo! Sports selected the 6-foot-10 Reves as the Best Defender in the Western Athletic Conference heading into the 2012–13 season. Junior Shaquille White-Miller, who started 31 games at point guard, is also back.

The Mavericks brought in six transfers and a pair of freshmen to counter the loss of leading scorers LaMarcus Reed and Bo Ingram. Top newcomers include 6–2 guard Jamel Outler, a transfer from Texas Tech, and 6–5 forwards Greg Gainey from South Plains College and Vince Dillard from Colby (Kan.) Community College.

Jamel Outler should be a big-time scorer and sharpshooter for us,” Cross says. “He should help offset the scoring and shooting that we lost from last season.”

UT Arlington moves to the WAC this year, and preseason polls put the defending Southland Conference champions in the middle of the pack. “The competition will be much tougher in the WAC,” Cross says. “We know we’ll have to step it up and be ready to play every night.”

The WAC sent four teams to the postseason last year. New Mexico State won the conference tournament and represented the league in the NCAA Tournament. Utah State and Idaho went to the College Insider Tournament, and regular-season champ Nevada, now in the Mountain West, received an NIT bid.

Louisiana Tech and San Jose State are the other WAC holdovers. They are joined by UT San Antonio, Texas State, Denver, and Seattle. The Mavericks begin WAC play Dec. 29 against New Mexico State at College Park Center and will compete in the Sears Bracket Busters event in February for the second consecutive year. The WAC Tournament is March 12–16 in Las Vegas.

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