Men’s basketball team hits Alabama

The Florida A&M University basketball team is looking forward to 2010-2011 season. The Rattlers have several returning players who will be called upon for leadership. Head coach Eugene Harris said winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title is his top priority.

“Our goal is always to win the MEAC conference, that’s always our goal,” Harris said. “We want to do well in our money games as well, but we always look to win the MEAC title.”

During the offseason, players worked hard to build muscle and improve their basketball skills.  Larry Jackson, senior forward from Chattahoochee, Fla., will be a key factor in the success of the team this season.

“I worked hard on my body with my strength and conditioning during the offseason and preseason,” Jackson said. “This year everyone is pretty much seniors and juniors, so I expect the team to do pretty well this year. We are a more mature and older team.”

Jackson led the team in rebounding last season. Early morning workouts and frequent weightlifting helped Jackson get stronger for the long season ahead.  The team will look for leadership from the juniors and seniors this season.

Christopher Walker, senior guard from Selma, Ala., and Rasheem Jenkins, senior guard from New York, should provide leadership and stability in the backcourt.

The team will look for new players to pick up the scoring load after losing its top-scorer from a season ago in guard Brandon Bryant.

“The system that we have right now, as an up and down team, gives everybody plenty of opportunity to score the ball,” Harris said. ” When we recruit we look for the total package scorers, rebounders, and defensive players.”

 Assistant coach Kevin Hogan said he has been impressed with the team early in the season.

“We are pleased with some of the new additions to our team, and the effort they have shown in preparing for the season,” Hogan said.

The team runs an up-tempo offense that allows for fast break opportunities.  The Rattlers might feature some three-guard lineups to utilize the team’s quickness and versatility this season as well.

The team has played an exhibition game and has their season opener against Alabama Friday.