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The new faces of Eagle basketball
Collins mug bw
Jared Collins, a freshman from Toombs County High School is one of seven new faces on the 2006-2007 Georgia Southern basketball roster. The Eagles are coming off a 2005 season in which they were invited to the NIT, their first postseason appearance in 14 seasons. - photo by Special
As the season opener inches closer, Jeff Price continually reminds himself — be patient.
    The Georgia Southern men’s basketball coach, entering his eighth season at the helm, says patience will be needed as the Eagles integrate seven newcomers this season. Five are freshman and two are transfers, and all will be expected to contribute.
    “I have to learn to be patient and understand it will take some time,” Price said.
    The Eagles return eight players, including three starters, and Price isn’t sure yet if any of the newcomers will start.
    “There’s a pretty large gap between the returning players and the new guys, which I think is normal,” Price said. “We just have to continue to work to get a few of these new guys ready to play considerable minutes right away.”
    The Eagles open their season on Sunday, Nov. 12 against UC Davis at a tournament in Durham, N.C., and will face either Duke or Columbia in the second round. The home opener is Saturday, Nov. 25 against Winston-Salem State. Until then, here’s a quick look at the new Eagles:

Jared Collins, F
    Collins is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward out of Toombs County High School. Price said Collins is loaded with potential and will continue to work hard and improve. “His best days are ahead of him,” Price said.

Antoine Johnson, G
    The 6-0, 180-pound Johnson was an all-state performer at Westlake High in Atlanta and is currently adjusting to the learning curve at the point guard position. “That’s the toughest position to learn as a freshman,” Price said.

Janiszewski, C

    It’s tough to miss this 6-11, 280-pound center from Poland who will give the Eagles some much-needed bulk in the middle. Janiszewski spent last season playing at a prep school in Atlanta. He has good skills but limited basketball experience and needs time to learn the game, Price said.

Matt Fields, F
    Fields is one of two transfers to join the Eagles this year. A 6-7, 195-pound junior from Central Florida Community College, Fields is versatile enough to play both inside and out. “He’s long and athletic and fits well with the style of basketball we play,” Price said. “He’ll have to learn while he plays.”

Ryan Hynes, C
    Like Janiszewski, Hynes will give the Eagles size in the paint. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound junior transferred from Allen Hancock Community College in California. “Ryan is a good passer and has good skills,” Price said. “He’s another big body to take up a lot of space in the middle.”

Johntavius Rucker, G
    Rucker, a 6-2, 185 pound two-guard, is physically ready to play the college game but is still learning. He comes from a strong program in Decatur, (Columbia High) and Price said he’s been improving in practice.

Blake Thompson, G
    Thompson is a 5-10, 165 pound combo-guard who walked on from Woodland High in Cartersville. His upside is his ability to shoot outside.