Other potential guards include Blakely Williams, Zach Baugh and Texas Pascale. Williams and Baugh will join the basketball team late, as they and center Keaton Slater are all still playing football.
“It’s going take them time, but we’re excited about when they come in, because they’re competitors,” Zike said of his football trio. “They’ve been around; they know how to win; they’ve won in football. They’re going to bring us a good spark.”
The Buffs also return senior power forward Eli Boyle, a starter last year. Slater, who didn’t start but played plenty of minutes last season, Boyle and senior center DeAngelo Rhone should comprise the Buffs’ front-court.
Coaching varsity basketball for the first time, Zike said his roster is still very much in flux. McAlester’s returning starters might have some extra experience, but that alone won’t guarantee a starting spot this season.
“We’re just trying to find five guys that want to work hard,” Zike said. “Those are going to be the guys that play.”
Whichever Buffaloes become the starting five, they’ll have to be able to handle Zike’s new offense. It’s a motion offense based around driving to the basket, which Zike said takes better advantage of his team’s athleticism but puts extra burden on the players to make smart decisions.
“It gives the kids a little more freedom,” Zike said of the new offense.
“I told them whenever we’d do it, ‘Guys, it’s a player’s offense. As long as y’all make good decisions and y’all want to do things right out of it, y’all will enjoy it. But when y’all don’t want to do those things, we’ll take it away.’”
Zike said the 2013-14 Buffs will also feature a primarily man-to-man defense. Mixing in an occasional half-court trap, the Buffs will try to force bad passes they can intercept and then convert into easy transition baskets.