BUFFALO, NY – The 2010-11 University at Buffalo men's basketball season tips off on Saturday at noon when the Bulls take the floor against Navy at Alumni Arena.
Over the past two seasons, head coach Reggie Witherspoon used a stable of upperclassmen to lead the Bulls to 21 wins in 2009 and 18 wins in 2010. For the Bulls to be successful in 2010-11, Witherspoon will be leaning on a much younger squad.
The Bulls will need to replace six seniors from a season ago, including three starters and the team's top five scorers.
Led by a pair of seniors, the Bulls do have eight lettermen returning. Witherspoon will look to mesh his eight returners with five freshmen. It is the first time in 12 seasons at the helm of the UB men's basketball team that Witherspoon will have five freshmen on his team.
One of the seniors Witherspoon will welcome back is point guard Byron Mulkey. The Wheatfield, NY native sat out last season as a redshirt and is anxious to get back in the lineup. The energetic Mulkey has averaged 6.4 points and 2.5 assists per game for his career and is likely to take over the starting point guard role.
Alston is coming off his most successful season where he averaged four points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He is a great finisher around the basket, proven by his team-best 61.5 field goal percentage last season.
Robinson started 29 games last year and averaged 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Robinson scored eight or more points in 11 games last season and will be leaned on to provide more scoring this season.
Watt made 25 starts last season and averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He led the Bulls and ranked third in the MAC with 39 blocked shots. With more experienced players ahead of him, Watt's minutes were at times limited last season. However, when given the chance he made the most of his time. In the 10 games he played 17 minutes or more, Watt averaged 9.4 points per game.
However, the success of this year's team may depend on the development of its youngsters as all five freshmen will be looked to for contribution this season.
Nuiriankh is a 6-5 guard who played for Charis Prep last season where he averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game.
Oldham is an all-state guard from Decatur, IL. He averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game his senior season.
Raley-Ross hails from Charlotte, NC where he was a three-time All-State selection. He averaged 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals his senior season at Harding University High School.
Downing is a 6-9, 255-lb center from Tulsa, OK. He was the Oklahoma Player of the Year last season after averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds per game.
McCrea is an athletic forward from Newark, NY. He averaged 22 points, 14.6 rebounds and eight blocked shots per game en route to earning All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year honors his senior season.
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available at the Alumni Arena box office or by calling 1-877-UB-THERE. Fans unable to attend the game can listen all season long on 1230 AM WECK. A live webstream of the game is available at www.buffalobulls.com.