ORONO, Maine — With the departure of Ed Kohtala to teaching and coaching positions at Bangor High School, University of Maine men’s basketball coach Ted Woodward moved quickly to fill his staff vacancy.
Woodward on Thursday announced former Black Bear Jon Sheets has been hired as an assistant coach.
“Jon will be a wonderful addition to our staff and I am thrilled he decided to join us,” Woodward said in a press release. “Jon was a great player and leader in our program, and we always felt he was a coach on the floor who had a great feel for the game and loved hard work.”
Sheets, who graduated from UMaine in 2007, played two seasons for the Black Bears. During the 2006-07 season he connected for 79 3-pointers, which is the sixth-highest single-season total in program history.
He also led the team with 3.1 assists per game that season and finished his career with 145 3-pointers, which places him eighth on UMaine’s career list.
“He is a man of great character, is a tremendous teacher, and will do a great job leading the young men in our program to great success both on and off the court,” Woodward said. “We are excited to have him join our coaching staff.”
Since graduating from Maine with a degree in communications, Sheets has played for Athletes in Action and professionally in Israel for the Kalandia Club. He returns to Maine after serving as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at Simpson University, an NAIA program in California.
Dennis, defense shackle offense
It was a somewhat frustrating football intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday for the members of the UMaine offense.
Despite an offensive line that returns five of six starters, including tight end Justin Perillo, the squad was challenged to move the football consistently against the defense.
Senior linebacker Donte Dennis spearheaded the defense, which allowed only one long run, a 38-yard scamper by backup quarterback John Ebeling.
“We’re coming out here trying to get better every day and just trying to have fun while we’re doing it,” said Dennis, who missed last season after undergoing elbow surgery.
“[On Tuesday], I felt like we had a lot of energy on the field and we just wanted to make it a good one,” he added. “It’s the last scrimmage before BC [Boston College] and BC is no joke, so we’ve got to make sure we come correct. We can’t wait, that’s for sure.”
Backup linebacker Randy Samuels and reserve safety Aamad Bush also made their presence felt. Cornerback Kendall James returned an interception for a touchdown.
Cosgrove is pleased to have Dennis back in the lineup.
“I thought Donte Dennis was very much alive and kicking out there and playing with great energy,” he said.
After some graduation losses, the offense is trying to re-establish itself behind junior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski. He was working with several younger players during the scrimmage as a handful of projected starters were held out to avoid aggravating injuries.
Wasilewski completed several short passes, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to Doug Nash of Turner on a goal-line drill.
Nash is one of a few players who have been moved around for the 2012 season. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound former Leavitt High School star went into training camp as an offensive tackle.
He’s now at tight end, where he’s backing up Perillo after fifth-year senior Jeff Falvey was unable to return after an injury sidelined him last season.
“He’s the best we have in terms of an athlete on the offensive line and making this move is not hard for him mentally because he has worked right alongside a tight end for a number of years now,” Cosgrove said. “He’s got enough ball skills to really be a factor and be a productive player for us.”
UMaine also moved a player from offense to defense. Senior Sam Shipley is lining up at fullback after playing a backup role as a linebacker in 2011.
Shipley (6-1, 230) is competing for playing time with redshirt freshmen Sean Stevenson and Sidney Weston after an injury to sophomore Carlton Charles of Windham.