“Whew. They're both tough. Byron did so much for us that we really didn't realize it until we started practice. I knew his points, his experience, but a lot of things we took for granted with Byron, we started realizing our point guards now weren't doing. It was tough.
“We know what we're going to have to replace with James. The scoring. He became our best defender, because he had great size and he started liking to play defense. But with James, it's great to have that what I call the ‘X Factor,' the guy when plays aren't working, you give a guy the ball and let him go score. That's tough to replace. Who's going to take that spot? Do we have somebody? I don't know yet. That's going to be the toughest thing.
“You can count on 20 points a night (with James), not counting all the attention he would draw to him and he would kick to Keiton and guys like that, especially later in the season when he became good at it. But for the fact that you can piece those 22 points together, it was tough to replace Byron creating shots for other guys.
“And the last five minutes of the game, if you were winning, we said, ‘Here Byron, take us home.'”
Looking ahead, with the players returning and rising and the newcomers on the way, could your roster be more versatile?
“If everything goes as we hope and is planned – we all know a lot can change between now and August – we'll no question be more versatile. And no question be deeper. I'm hoping to press a lot more. We'll be twice – if not more – athletic, because of the kids coming in. It could be a lot more versatile team, versatile player wise, but also as a team. A lot of players can play.
“As of right now, there's not the one or two dominant players. I couldn't tell you one starting position next year. Not one. Where I sat here last year, I could have told you James was starting. Keiton (Page) would start. Obi (Muonelo) would start. And I would have said Marshall (Moses), just because of the way he played.
“I was thinking about it the other day, I'm not ready to give anything to any of them. Not one. It should be exciting for some of the guys. None of them are guaranteed anything.”