Asked what the strength of his Morehead State basketball team is, Sean Woods doesn't hesitate: "guard play."
The Eagles say en garde to a new season Friday when they visit UNLV.
They'll do so with four starters back, including three guards, from a 20-14 team.
Returning guards Angelo Warner (17.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.0 apg), Brent Arrington (11.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.3 apg) and Kareem Storey (6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.1 apg) will fuel a high-paced attack. But the Eagles have even more guard depth with the additions of freshman Miguel Dicent and LSU transfer Corban Collins.
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"They're strong, physical, very athletic, unlike most guards in this league and at this level," Woods said of his guards. "We're fortunate to have four or five guards that are really, really good, that are interchangeable."
The fourth returning starter is 6-foot-10 senior Billy Reader (6.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Gone is big Chad Post humus (9.6 ppg, 10.9 rpg). His spot probably will be filled by Karam Mashour, a 6-6 Israeli senior who was limited to two games last season due to a bulging disc in his back. Woods says Mashour, who transferred from UNLV, has been active and rebounds well. Counting a preseason trip to the Bahamas, he has grabbed 79 rebounds in four exhibitions.
"We don't have a massive post player like Chad Post humus. But we do have a really skilled 6-10 post player in Billy Reader," Woods said. "And then, hopefully once Marcus Fuggins comes around from his toe injury, he could be a major impact from an intimidating, rebounding, shot-blocking standpoint."
Morehead finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference East and made it to the College Basketball Invitational last season. The Eagles have bigger goals this season.
"Right now, definitely to be OVC champs," Arrington said. "We want to go into conference with a really high percentage on our record. ... Pretty much we just want to be one of the hardest-working teams in the nation and try to outplay teams as much as possible."
As for Friday's matchup, both teams played their only exhibition contests Nov. 5. Morehead State posted an 80-61 victory over St. Catharine, while UNLV beat Florida National 100-65.
"We've been looking pretty good," said Arrington, who led the way against St. Catharine with 24 points. "In our exhibition game, we had a little bit of slipups and all that, but that's what exhibition games are for. We've been in practice this last week ... and everything's starting to clean up and everything; the team's starting to mesh. We had a couple meetings after the exhibition game to just talk about expectations and things like that, and everybody seems to be getting on the right page."