FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The 2012-13 Northern Arizona men's basketball season gets underway Saturday when the Lumberjacks play the first of two exhibition games under new coach Jack Murphy. NAU plays host to Haskell Indian Nations University at 4:05 p.m. at the Rolle Activity Center. Admission is free.
"It will be a good experience for our guys to go through the game-day experience and another chance for our home fans to see us play." said Murphy.
Murphy welcomes back three starters and nine letter winners overall to his first Lumberjack squad.
Seniors Gabe Rogers and Stallon Saldivar both return for their final campaigns along with forward Gaellan Bewernick. Senior Michael Dunn, who started 14 games last season, is also back in the blue and gold. Murphy signed five newcomers who will make their NAU debuts Saturday.
"I am really excited about starting the season," said Saldivar. "It will be nice to not go against your teammates for once and see how we compete against another team. We are working really hard."
Murphy, who was hired in April, comes to NAU from Memphis, where he served as an assistant for the last three seasons.
"Coach has a lot passion about the game and he has a lot of experience," said Saldivar. "It is fun to be around him."
Haskell is a NAIA four-year degree-granting university in Lawrence, Kansas, which offers post-high school education to members of registered Native American tribes in the United States. They compete in the Midlands Collegiate Athletics Conference. The two schools last met in the 2008-09 season.
The Indians roster includes junior guard Koyai Clauschee from Chinle, Ariz. He is product of Cochise College and was the 2009-10 Navajo Times Player of the Year.