Building For Now


Building For Now


When Texas-Arlington coach Scott Cross started recruiting for the class of 2011, he was not aware that his squad would be so light on underclassmen. Two freshmen transferred after the 2010-2011 season, leaving the Mavericks with just three underclassmen. However, prior to those transfers, Texas-Arlington had a couple experienced players ready to join the team in 2011. Point guard Jorge Redmon was already committed to suit up for Coach Cross in the fall of 2010 after spending a couple years at Lon Morris Junior College and Kevin Butler, a transfer from TCU, spent last season watching from the bench.

That all seemed well and good…the Mavericks were adding a couple experienced players to their squad at what was presumed to be positions of need. It turns out the point guard spot may not be a huge need with one of those few remaining freshmen, in this case Shaquille White-Miller, ready to battle with Redmon for the starting spot at the point guard position after starting 17 games a year ago. But with some open scholarships due to the transfers, Coach Cross could add a couple youngsters to build for the future. But that is not what Texas-Arlington opted to do. Instead of picking up a couple of freshmen, they added two more junior college transfers. That may not bode too well for the future, but the future could be a whole lot brighter if the Mavericks can live up to their expectations they are now creating.

The late signees turned out to be a couple superb junior college scorers. Wing Karol Gruszecki averaged 19.4 points per game last year and could be a great scorer from day one. The same can be said for 6-6 forward Bojan Mihajlovic, who tallied 20.6 points per game at Central Wyoming College. On a team that may not need Gruszecki and Mihajlovic right away, Coach Cross is taking a small risk. Those two could end up being huge impact players during the 2011-2012 campaign, but with six players back who started at least a dozen games a year ago, it can easily be argued that those two were not necessarily needed for the Mavericks to have a successful season. However, their addition has turned Texas-Arlington into the favorites to win the Southland Conference.

Coach Cross and his staff are taking a little gamble that the 2011-2012 season, and to a lesser extent the 2012-2013 season, will go well for the Mavericks. If it does, the inevitable rebuilding that will need to be done will go much smoother and some quality recruits will flock to Arlington. If not, Texas-Arlington better enjoy what success they can get over the next two years because it may take a few years after that before they get back into the Southland race.

Read an in-depth men's basketball preview for this team