NANOOK CORNER: How UAF Men's Basketball became one of the top teams in the GNAC
The UAF Men's Basketball team is currently tied for third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with their 5-3 Conference Record.
I sat down with their head coach Mick Durham to talk about their recent success in this week's Nanook Corner.
Devin Fry; Reporting>>: The Alaska Nanook Men's Basketball team is currently on a roll. After defeating the Saint Martin's Saints here at home on January 6th, they went on the road for a week -long trip that saw them defeat the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks on Thursday January 11th, and the Central Washington Wildcats this past Saturday. That three game streak not only moved the Nooks up to third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, but they were also named the Conference Team of the Week.
Mick Durham; Head Coach - UAF Men's Basketball>>: "It shows me that we made progress. I really think GNAC games are hard to win. Especially road games. But definitely, definitely we've made strides and our confidence is a lot better than it was around Christmas time. We always say that if the team plays well, the awards will come. We probably could have been close to getting a player of the week with two road wins, but we didn't. And I'd just as soon have the team of the week."
Devin Fry; Reporting>>: The Nanook Men are not a one-faceted team either, they currently have three players who average Double-Digit points every single game. Alex Baham is averaging 13.1 points per game, Davis Kimble is averaging 12.5, and one of their big men Michael Kluting is averaging 11.6. Kluting also averages 7.6 rebounds per game. Head Coach Mick Durham says that their shooting ability also gives them a leg up on the competition.
Mick Durham; Head Coach - UAF Men's Basketball>>: "It seems like when we run into coaches in our league they talk about our shooting. And we didn't have a good shooting team last year. And to turn it around like this, obviously we have a lot of new guys, but we're shooting the ball. And that makes things easier at times. And then our defense is getting better, we just have to get used to each other. But I think the biggest thing is that we have the ability to shoot the ball a little bit. And we have our couple of inside guys. We think we have some balance inside with some big guys."
Devin Fry; Reporting>>: The Nanooks now have a tough test ahead of them as they host the Number 1 team in the GNAC on Thursday night. The Western Washington Vikings are 13-3 overall this year and a perfect 8-0 in conference play. The Nooks will look to be responsible for the Vikings first conference loss.
Mick Durham; Head Coach - UAF Men's Basketball>>: "As a coach I'm trying to take it a game at a time. We have a huge game Thursday with Western Washington. They're a team that's 8-0 in our league. They went 18-2 in our league last year. So, I mean, if we feel too comfortable all we have to do is look at the schedule for Thursday Night. Then we turn around and play a scrappy, Saturday afternoon, quick turnaround, Simon Fraser team that has all starters back and so right now I think our guys have learned that each night is a battle. And I think in the short time we've had them together they've learned that we've got to be ready to go each night. And that doesn't matter if we're home or away."