1. It’s hard to believe last season’s leading scorer and returning senior Anthony James has been absent for UNI’s two exhibition games. The Panthers have looked just fine. Of course, James will miss the first three regulars season games to suspension (sitting for the exhibition season was reportedly a strategic move to get minutes for other players) and will be back for the game against No. 2 Louisville in the Bahamas. There hasn’t been much talk about his absence, probably because there isn’t much to talk about, but it will be very interesting to see how he reassumes what will presumably be a major roll after missing some time.
2. James is just part of the reason experience is the word for UNI’s season. A total of 12 players return from varying roles on the roster last year, including four seniors. To boot, it’s well-rounded experience with plenty of depth. Marc Sonnen won’t put up big numbers night in and night out, but this reporter believes he’s the most important Panther because of what he can contribute anywhere on the court.
3. Underclassmen deserve their due on scouting reports as well. Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell formed the best freshman duo in the league a year ago and both appear improved heading into their sophomore seasons — Mitchell, in particular. Redshirt freshman Matt Bohannon has been a starter for the two exhibition games and should remain there for the time being, although I wouldn’t regularly expect a starter’s minutes. Sophomore Nate Buss missed pretty much all of his freshman year with an injury and has been arguably the most impressive Panther in exhibition action — clearly the most efficient.