Team preview: UMBC

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

Randy Monroe got quite an education in his first season as a college basketball coach. He learned about his players, he learned about his opponents in the America East and he learned about himself.

"How to work with people," Monroe responded when asked the most important thing he learned about himself. "You can talk about Xs and Os all you want, but one of the most important things is how you work with and motivate people."

With six returning players and eight newcomers on his UMBC roster, Monroe will have plenty of opportunities to put his people and motivational skills to work.

The Retrievers are not the most talented team in the America East, but they are a resilient bunch that stuck together during an eight-game losing streak that saw them go winless from Jan. 27 to Feb. 27. Monroe said several opponents complimented his team on its tenacity and he's hoping that work ethic will carry over into the 2005-06 season.

UMBC ranked ninth in the America East in offense last season (61.3 ppg) and will need to find point production from new sources after the graduation of leading scorer Andrew Feeley (9.6 ppg), four-year starting point guard Rob Gogerty (9.0) and the departure of forward Cory McJimson (7.8 ppg) after his junior season. Monroe is confident his returning players can help pick up that slack.

"I'm really high on our veterans, they are very committed," Monroe said. "They played extremely hard last season and I think they will come back better players."