FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington is short on height, but the Beavers are long on speed, pinpoint shooting and downright scrappy on defense.

So having two of the three essentials to putting together a competitive basketball team should make the UMF men’s contingent one tough customer in the North Atlantic Conference this season.

“We have got to be able to defend and we have the ability to defend,” Mt. Blue head coach Dick Meader said. “Perhaps the biggest worries are the ability to rebound because we are not big.

“We want to get out and run. We play better when we play faster, but we also have to be careful because the teams we are playing are also quick and fast.

“We had a great week last week. We have been shooting the ball very well, and if we continue to do that, we will have a good year.”

But Meader stressed strong defensive performances are also a key to a trip to the postseason.


“But we have to keep people from getting to the basket,”Meader added. “Got to guard the 3-point line better than we have, and offensively, limit turnovers — make sure we get a shot every time going down the court.

“But we are 6-3, but it would be good to be 6-foot-4 or 5, across the board, but that is the one things that will hurt us the most is the size factor.”

Meader will be counting on several key players, including Riley Robinson — a 6-foot-3 sophomore forward — to make things happen on the court.

“Riley Robinson certainly has improved his body. He has shot the ball very well in preseason,” Meader said. “He handles the ball a lot for us. He is the trailer coming down the court. He can guard a bigger player inside so Riley is one of our major go-to players.”

Meader will turn to several players for perimeter shooting and rebounding such as Issac Witham — a sophomore 6-foot guard — and Bill Ruby — a sophomore 6-foot-3 forward.

“Issac Witham is maybe our best shooter,” Meader said. “Very good perimeter scorer and point guard. Plays defense. He is just solid.


“Billy Ruby, who got hurt early last year for and was out the majority of the year, is really back to full speed. He is really playing well. His shot has improved. He has good quickness taking the ball to the hoop. He will rebound the ball. He is a pretty good rebounder. “

Depth is also concern for Meader, but a transfer from Colby-Sawyer College might help with that worry.

“Guys have to come a long,” Meader said. “Milani Hicks transferred from Colby-Sawyer and that has been huge. He is certainly a nice player. We really haven’t had many players like him. He is going to make a very positive contribution to the team.”

Meader said the NAC’s finest teams include Husson College, Castleton and Colby-Sawyer and will make waves in that conference.

“Husson is always tough,” Meader said. “They kind of got a pipeline to Florida (for recruiting). Castleton will be fairly good. Colby-Sawyer, has got two really good players.

“But every night, we are all pretty good. So there is no easy one.”

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