Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Start of Nec Cleans Slate for Colonials

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Start of Nec Cleans Slate for Colonials

Article excerpt

Thank God it's conference.

After an underwhelming 2-11 non-conference season, Robert Morris will open Northeast Conference play at 4 p.m. today at Sewall Center against Sacred Heart (1-10). And the plan is to leave the uninspiring start in the past.

"It's pretty much a clean slate," sophomore forward Elijah Minnie said. "Conference really matters. So we're going to go into conference with a different attitude."

Robert Morris, picked to finish second in a conference preseason poll, isn't alone in its non-conference struggles. Only two teams in the NEC finished above .500, Wagner at 7-4 and LIU Brooklyn at 6- 5. Only Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut at 1-10 have worse records than Robert Morris.

Minnie attributed the early season frustration to a lack of leadership on the team - something for which he and senior guard Rodney Pryor take responsibility.

"More people knew their roles from the start last year," Minnie said. "This year, everyone is still trying to figure out what role they have to play, and that's something we should have figured out a long time ago. But last year, we had Lucky Jones, who just immediately told everyone what their role was. He demanded everything immediately.

"We should have just come out the way Lucky did last year and told everyone how everything goes, and we failed at that," Minnie said. "We're going to preach that a lot once conference play comes."

Such leadership is a big job for two players who have been on the team only one season prior, as Pryor was a transfer. And coach Andy Toole said that uncertainty has taken some time to overcome.

"Guys that do speak up, then they feel like there's a spotlight put on them," Toole said. " 'Hey, you've got to play harder.' Well that means if I'm saying that, I can't take a possession off either. Some guys like to stay in the shadows because they don't know when they're going to want to take a break. …

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