Roosevelt Jones Returns
Junior forward Roosevelt Jones, who missed the entire 2013-14 season with a wrist injury, will play in his first regular season game since March 2013. Jones was expected to carry much of the Butler offense last season before his injury, and his return has already helped to open up the floor for the Bulldog shooters.
Jones showed off improved ball handling and court vision in the Butler preseason games, creating space for the Bulldog bigs in various drive-and-dish scenarios. Look for Jones to see some time at point guard against Maine, expanding on a lineup experiment head coach Chris Holtmann had some success with during the preseason.
Freshmen Find Their Footing
After a poor shooting debut against in Chicago, freshman guard Kelan Martin exploded against Franklin for 18 points whilst shooting 55.5 percent on nine field goal attempts. Martin will most likely be the first player off the bench for the Bulldogs, and will be a big contributor if he can stay consistent.
Freshman forward Tyler Wideman, who missed the first exhibition game after sustaining a concussion in practice, made his presence known early with 17 points against Franklin. Wideman appears to have passed fellow frosh Jackson Davis on the depth chart, and should see a large chunk of playing time on Saturday if the Bulldogs get up early.
Woods’ Hot Start
Senior forward Kameron Woods, who ranked No. 4 on our Top 5 Power Forwards preview last week, will look to carry his preseason dominance over as the competition jumps up a notch. Woods led the Big East in rebounding last season with 9.0 rebounds per game, but impressed more on the offensive end against Chicago and Franklin.
Jones’ presence has certainly helped Woods find open looks at the rim, and he flashed some new back-to-the-basket moves in exhibition play. Granted, the tallest player in the opposing lineup in both games was 6-foot-7, but the fundamentals are there for Woods to start commanding in the post.