Oct 312007
Authors: Matthew Pucak

Jason Smith is no longer dominating the paint and Dale Layer isn’t pacing the sidelines, either. So, it is highly recommended that fans buy a program if they plan on attending the CSU men’s basketball game this evening.

The men’s hoops team not only has a new head coach in Tim Miles, but the Rams will have just two players from last season on the court when they open their 2007-08 season tonight at 7 with an exhibition game against the Regis Rangers in Moby Arena.

The game won’t count on the season record, but the Rams know that it is important to see what their team is made of.

“Most of our guys have never played a Division-I game before, so this will be a litmus test for us to see what we need to work on. Of course we want to win, but this game will be important to know what we are as a team and see what we need to improve on,” said center Stuart Creason, the Rams lone returning starter.

While the turnover of players and staff coming into this season may make fans a bit lost, Creason, a fifth-year senior, is likely to be a little bit uncomfortable as well.

“It’s going to be a little bit weird out there. I’ve played for three years under one coaching staff, and now I have an entirely new staff and new team, but I like them, Creason said. “The staff has taught me a lot of different skill sets from what I learned from the previous staff.”

The Rams have 11 new players joining Creason and sophomore center Ronnie Aguilar on the roster this season, including an incoming recruiting class that was ranked first in the Mountain West conference by Hoopscoop.com. Junior college transfers Willis Gardner and Marcus Walker bring college basketball experience to a team that has six incoming true freshmen.

Regis went 9-17 last season, and the Rams beat the Rangers 69-53 last year in an exhibition game.

Creason knows that the loss of his frontcourt mate Smith, who left early for the draft after last season and now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, will make things very different for him, but Creason also knows he can hold his own.

“Some of my best games were when he (Smith) was in trouble,” he said.

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