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New coach looking forward to upcoming season; hard work brings team together

Jets basketball fans can look forward to an exciting style of play from the men's team this 2017-18 season.

With new coach Marshawn Norris at the helm, the team is poised for a culture change, and Norris expects his players will buy in.

"When you look at the game of basketball today, it is played much smaller and much faster, and our roster embraces that," Norris said. "I believe it will work well for us and please our fans. Defensively, we will be traditional; packing it in, tough on the ball, working as a unit."

This year's team is pretty evenly matched with experience and newcomers, with seven sophomores and eight freshmen. Top returners include guard Brandon Thomas, who averaged 11 points per game, 3 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game last season, shooting 83 percent from the free throw line in the 27 games (starting in 21 games) he played in the 2016-17 season. Guard/forward Michael Bruce averaged 12 points per game, 6 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game and shot 50 percent from the field in the 30 games (started 26 games) he played for the Jets in the 2016-17 season. Guard Dorian Watson averaged 8 points per game, 3 rebounds per game and 2 assists per game last season, while shooting 57 percent from the field in the 24 games (started in 9) he played for the Jets last season. Guard Andrew Nicholson Jr. averaged 6 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, and 2 assists per game for the 28 games (started in 21) he played last season.

Norris said a number of freshman should be significant additions to the Jets team, including forward Karinn Davis Jr., a Jackson High '16 graduate, and guard/forward Kayron Rodgers, an Ann Arbor Skyline '17 graduate. Davis is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward who has shown early leadership qualities on the court in communicating with teammates. Rodgers brings a lot of skill and is looking to come into his own as a college player. He is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound player who was a contributor at Ann Arbor Skyline for three years.

Norris said working hard has been his emphasis with his new team from day one. "Everything we wish to achieve (scholarships, championships) is on the other side of the work we put in. All player PLAY hard but it's different to WORK hard, and these young men are actually getting it. We still have a long ways to go, but we make strides in that aspect every day. I expect my guys to have extreme focus, togetherness, toughness and the will to win every game."

The Jets play at Mott Community College on Nov. 3. The first home game will be Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. against Olivet College's JV team. See the full schedule here.