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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Injuries are one of the things college basketball coaches cannot control. Ted Woodward has learned this the hard way in each of his first two seasons as Maine's head coach.
Two years ago, the Black Bears lost senior point guard Chris Markwood for eight key games after he broke his hand midway through the season. Last season, Maine was forced to play without 6-2 senior Kevin Reed -- who entered 2005-06 as a top contender for America East Player of the Year -- after Reed suffered a stress fracture in his left foot during the preseason.
Now, the good news.
Reed, a superior rebounder and shooter, returns for his senior season after a medical red-shirt. A second-team all-league selection as a sophomore and junior, Reed is already Maine's career leader in three-pointers made (235) and has scored 1,179 career points. He also led the nation in rebounding for players 6-2 and under in 2003-04 (7.2 rpg) and he was 13th in the league in scoring (12.8 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (6.9 rpg). He also led the league in steals (2.17 spg).
"He just does a lot of winning things," Woodward said of Reed. "He gives tremendous leadership and he's a guy that has had games where he puts you on his back and carries you."
Reed will also be surrounded by teammates who were forced to learn to play without him last season. Leading scorer Ernest Turner (15.2 ppg) is gone, but the next five top scorers are back, which could make Maine even better this season.
"I think this is a team that has to be patient and has to be OK with growing throughout the year," Woodward said. "This team has to be focused on, not the first week of the season, but the whole five-month package."