Wednesday, November 4, 2009

McRae back in the fold; injuries already for Danes

ALBANY - Senior forward Scotty McRae didn't even make it to the end of the 2008-09 season as he was kicked off of the University at Albany men's basketball team.

This year, after gaining his spot back on the team, McRae is ready to try and make some significant contributions.

“Once you get accustom to something, it’s a lot easier, so I feel like I’m going to do a lot better this year,” said McRae, who averaged 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 21 games last season.

McRae said coach Will Brown told him he has a clean slate this year and will be treated just like every other player.

The Eastern Wyoming transfer said that the team feels better this season with more players returning from last year.

“We have a lot of freshmen (this year) who are really attentive and listen to everything we say,” said McRae.

McRae also sounded very mature with his talking about this being his last collegiate season.

“Not only is it our last chance, it’s the end of our college careers,” McRae said. “No matter what happens after we leave Albany, this will be our last 31 or 32 games to play as Great Danes. That’s really important for all of us. It’s our last chance to play for Coach Brown and getting to play for this whole community, so it’s really important that we bring everything we have every single game because it’s not going to be promised to us anymore.”

The point guard position is very up in the air for the Monday's game against Syracuse.

Senior Mike Johnson is serving a team-imposed two-game suspension and freshmen Derrek Tartt and Mike Black are both suffering from injuries.

Tartt has a sore lower back, which was sustained during the team's first scrimmage and initially extended all the way down to his legs, not a good sign.

“I think any time you’re talking about lower back, it’s serious,” said Brown.

Black has what Brown called "severe tendinitis" in both of his knees.

UAlbany will be looking at junior Tim Ambrose or senior Louis Barraza (see below) playing significant minutes at point guard against the Orange on Monday.
Barraza has injury issues of his own.

The shooting specialist was wearing a brace on his right ring finger at Media Day on Wednesday.

Brown said the ligaments in that finger are shredded, but he hasn't taken a day off from practice yet, fighting through the pain.

“We’re banged up pretty good right now and I saw that with a smile because I guess if we’re going to be banged up, we want it to be now,” said Brown.

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