Miami opens their 2014-15 campaign on Sunday, November 16 at 2:00 in Millett Hall. Visiting will be the Big Sky Conference's Southern Utah University Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds should be a good opponent for a RedHawks team that is continually searching for chemistry within a slew of new faces, including their starting point guard, junior Eric Washington, who transferred from Presbyterian last year.
SUU finished a dismal 2-27 (1-19 Big Sky) last season. The Thunderbirds are led by sophomore guard Trey Kennedy who led the team in scoring, averaging 9.5 points per game. Junior forward A.J. Hess contributed as well, averaging 9.3 points per game. SUU opens their season at Kansas State on Friday night.
Miami is coming into their season opener looking to bounce back from a rough exhibition loss to Division II Edinboro, 60-71. Washington led Miami with 16 points in the game, and 6-foot-10 junior transfer L.J. Livingston added 12 more. Senior guard Will Sullivan led put up 10.3 points last season and is the voice on the court this season. The RedHawks missed Jaryd Eustace, one of two 6-foot-7 sophomore guards from Australia on the roster, due to illness. Eustace averaged about seven points and three rebounds last season as a freshman.
With so many new faces on the court, head coach John Cooper is still figuring out who works best with who. "One thing I have to do is I got to see these different guys together and get a feel for lineups," Cooper said in an interview with MURedHawks.com. "Anytime you're trying to work that many faces in, you're teetering on a small line of taking rhythm away from your team."
The RedHawks finished 13-18 (8-10 MAC) last season. Sunday will prove to be a progress marker on how well the RedHawks have been coming together as of late and improving their chemistry. The full preseason preview for Miami can be found here.