From a little farther downtown
Grand Junction Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Although they both have plenty of other moves in their game to score baskets with, Mesa State fans can expect to see Sean Flohr and Aaron Markham heave and hit most of their shots beyond the 3-point line.
A new rule, approved by the NCAA before the recently started 2008-09 men’s basketball season, pushed the trifecta stripe to 20 feet, 9 inches ” a foot back from the old line.
The longer distance is something both players said is not a problem.
Especially for a couple of guys who have been successfully flinging home shots deep from downtown since their high school days.
“The release feels the same to me,” Flohr, a junior small forward from Glenwood Springs High School, said. “I enjoy it. It seems like a new challenge. It hasn’t affected me much.”
Markham, a third-year guard who used to square up against Flohr in his prep days at nearby Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, agrees.
“There’s a little bit of change. You have to get used to seeing where the line is,” he said. “But, I think you were going to shoot that shot anyway before the line was moved back. It wouldn’t feel uncomfortable”
What the new distance will uncover, Flohr said, are players who are weak outside shooters.
“I personally think it will expose who the pure shooters are as opposed to the one’s who show up and have a good game once in a while. So, I’m kind of excited to see what happens with it, percentage-wise, in the terms of the overall game vs. just shooting out there.”
The talent of this year’s team, Markham noted, will alleviate any problem with the new stripe.
“We have lot of good shooters. So, hopefully, it will work to our advantage. I don’t see where it would hurt our team.”
What originally appeared to hurt the Mavericks most is the loss of leading scorer Justin Ashbaugh with a season-ending injury. Flohr and Markham said it was a blow to the team, but they have the talent to minimize the problem.
“Obviously, you can’t replace Justin. He’s a great player for us,” said Flohr. “But, I don’t see it changing anybody’s individual roles much. The thing about playing for coach (Jim) Heaps is about playing for the group. So as long as we all execute and do what we’ve been told to do beforehand, it shouldn’t change what we all do. We’ve just got to pull together and work that much harder.”
Markham sees Ashbaugh’s injury as an opportunity for other team members.
“This will show they can play and they can defend and score as well,” he said. “Coach doesn’t preach just one player. It’s a team concept. So I feel pretty good about it.”
And, after going through the change as freshmen from prep to college basketball, Markham and Flohr feel ease in Heaps’ system.
“It was definitely a big transition coming out of high school and playing college know matter where you go,” Markham said. “It’s a new coach, new players and a new system. It took a year or two, but it definitely feels like this is home now and I’m comfortable and in a good situation.”
Despite Flohr’s path taking longer, seeing playing time at guard and forward, he’s also settled in nicely.
“At first it was different. But I saw it as an opportunity to expand my game and learn new things,” he said. “It took some adjusting, but I like it now because I’m capable about more as a basketball player then when I first came in here.”
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