Team preview: Maryland-Eastern Shore

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Maryland Eastern Shore continues its baby steps of progression under third-year head coach Larry Lessett.

The Eagles showed some improvement in 2005-06, as they went 7-22. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but better than the 2-26 disaster in Lessett's first year. UMES was competitive in most of its MEAC games last season, but Lessett knows there's a lot more work to be done.

"There's no question we were better last year, but we have a long way to go," Lessett said. "What I'm looking for out of everybody this season is consistency. We simply need each and every one of our players to be more consistent this year."

Lessett is just the latest in a long line of coaches who have tried to fix the UMES program. The Hawks haven't had a winning season in more than 20 years. About the only time they show up on anybody's radar is when they play a big-time team early in the season to make money for the athletic department.

Lessett may be the man to fix the program, but he knows that won't be done right away.

"It takes time to build a successful Division I program," he said. "You have to have an infrastructure within the athletic department to make things work. You have to keep recruiting good players, keep them in school and just work on getting better. And just because you have one winning season doesn't mean your program has arrived. You have to do it year after year.

"We made strides last year, but there's still a whole lot of work to do," Lessett said.