October 9, 2013 by Jacob Freedman
Even though he had a midterm in just under an hour, the grin on Omar Oraby’s face after practice on Wednesday was from ear to ear. And for good reason. In the team’s 10th practice of the fall, the 7-foot-2 senior center went 13-for-13 from the field during the team’s fourth scrimmage of the season.
“I’m very confident, and excited to get started with the season,” Oraby said. The Egypt native said most of his offseason was spent working on quickness, agility and explosiveness on the court. However, coach Andy Enfield’s plan for his likely starting center still focuses on utilizing his size.
“We like to give him (Oraby) the ball in the low post and let him go to work,” Enfield said. “Just outside the key is where my comfort zone is,” added Oraby. And after another strong performance Wednesday, it looks like Oraby will be comfortable no matter how much running he does in Enfield’s up-tempo system.
Meanwhile, the mystery over who will be the team’s starting power forward remains unsolved.
Strahinja “Luis” Gavrilovic sat out after being injured in a biking accident on campus earlier this week, so freshmen Nikola Jovanovic and Roschon Prince duked it out at the spot. Jovanovic has flown under the radar, but earned a ringing endorsement from Oraby: “He’s tall, can play inside and out, and he’s a very good shooter. He’s big and has a lot of size to his game.”
As the freshmen grow into possibly a starting role, Enfield also mentioned something he wants to see more from his upperclassmen: vocal leadership.
“There’s times where guys lead by example, but at times they need to mouth and lead verbally as well,” Enfield said of team veterans like Byron Wesley, J.T. Terrell and Oraby. “We need to be a defensive team, and it’s on those upperclassmen to start communicating and taking pride in their defense.” Enfield was known for his dunks and fast pace while at Florida Gulf Coast, but for now, it looks like defensive intensity is of prime importance.
-Gavrilovic hurt his foot in the biking accident, but Enfield said he should return Friday (the team is off Thursday).
-Transfer center D.J. Haley has a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the month for his neck injury, and has yet to be cleared by physicians.