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Offseason training brings hope for Northern Colorado men's basketball team

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013

Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 03:04

Basketball season may be over, but offseason training has just begun for the UNC men’s basketball team.

What sets this offseason apart from others is having all the players participating in training, since there were no seniors on the team this year.

The University of Northern Colorado played its final game of the season during the Big Sky Conference Championship. The Bears fell to the No. 1 seed Montana Grizzlies during the semifinals, 70-56.

UNC won just one of its first seven games of the season but regrouped midseason and finished by winning seven of its final 10 games of the year, including the Big Sky tournament.

The Bears will have six seniors leading the team next year, guard Tate Unruh being one of them.

“(I’ll) just push these guys and push myself to be better players and better people off the court,” Unruh said. “With everyone coming back, we’re familiar with each other so we’re able to call each other up and get in the gym all summer.”

Unruh ended the season averaging 13 points per game and shooting 42 percent from behind the arc. He was honored with the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week award Jan. 21.

Tim Huskisson, who will be a junior next year, ended the season at almost eight points per game and finished third on the team with 30 steals.

During these offseason workouts, Huskisson is already thinking of  how a crowd can affect the team’s play next season.

“The fans are key,” Huskisson said. “For us to have success we’re going to need them, so we’re trying to establish this culture to be able to have fans, not just when we’re doing well, but whenever we need them the most.”

Head coach B.J. Hill is going into his fourth year leading the Bears and he said he is feeling optimistic about the team moving forward.

“In terms of going into next year, it makes you feel good that you got the bulk of your scoring punches back and some guys that are very good players and guys that I think grew up a lot this year,” Hill said.

Unruh is also holding a positive outlook about next season — his last as a Bear — and what it will bring.  

“It’s so fun because we are already all great friends, so we’re playing the game we love with the people we love and it doesn’t get much better than that,” Unruh said.

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