Buckley unsure of 5th starter

Head coach Tim Buckley said he has a pretty good idea who four of his starting five will be for Friday night's exhibition game against Marathon Basketball. It is the fifth person he still is unsure of.

"As of today, we probably have four starters that being Matt McCollom, Patrick Jackson, Chris Williams and Theron Smith," Buckley said. "The other spot is wide open. That person could grab that spot within the next two days but no one has stood out over anyone else and we are still trying to find who that person will be."

The second-year head coach said junior transfer Zach Willingham, junior guard Rob Robbins and sophomore Robert Owens have all earned playing time as well.

"Day in and day out Matt McCollom is our most competitive player," Buckley said. "Theron Smith is our most talented player."

Senior center Lonnie Jones, who ranked second in the Mid-American Conference in blocked shots last season, has yet to earn a starting spot according to Buckley.

"Lonnie's role is up to Lonnie," he said. "I'd like to see Lonnie carve that role out, but he hasn't been consistent enough right now. Brian Burns has been to some degree and Brian is battling him for a spot. We're pulling for (Jones), we want Lonnie to be there from the start."

Ball State will battle Marathon Basketball Friday night at 7 in Worthen Arena. Marathon's roster features former collegiate players Jerry and Sherman Carstensen and B.J. Larue of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Stanley Blackmon of Arkansas-Little Rock and Damion Dantzler of Louisville.

"We are going to compete and play to win," Buckley said. "The people that have earned playing time will play. We are trying to play faster, I think we have better shooters and we can play at a quicker pace."

"This is a talented squad," Smith said. "I am going to assert myself more on the floor."


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