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Junior Jamal Webb and his UND teammates officially opened its first Big Sky campaign on Friday with a pair of practices.
Veteran squad ready for the Big Sky Conference
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Updated: Wednesday 10/12/2012 16:54:43 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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Grand Forks, N.D. -  The North Dakota men's basketball team ended its season the only place it could during the past two campaigns - the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. That all changes this season with entry to the Big Sky Conference because if this team does what it did at the 2011 and 2012 Great West Conference Tournaments - it will be dancing come the middle of March.

That alone has seventh-year head coach Brian Jones and his veteran squad energized for what should be an exciting season of round ball at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

The team officially opened its Big Sky era on Friday with a pair of practices, working together with a full allotment of players for more than the two hours that have been allowed per week by the NCAA since mid-September.

"The energy is high and the guys are eager," Jones said after the morning workout. "I think they are eager to make that next step and being able to get after it everyday to see where we are at.

"The beauty of this season is we finally have 16 guys, who I feel are ready to contribute and it is probably the first time since I have been here that we've had that quality of depth."

North Dakota will open the season Friday, Nov. 9 on the road at Kansas State. Until then, this unit will continue to put the work in to try and make this inaugural voyage in the Big Sky a memorable one and that did not start with Friday's first practice.

"We have a lot to build on from the excitement of last year and the guys worked hard during the summer and had a great fall, so they are ready for practice now and working on establishing ourselves in this new league."

Check back on UNDSports.com early next week for the first "UND Update" on the men's basketball team.

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