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Courtesy: Photography/JMU Athletics Communications
JMU Men's Basketball Starts Holiday Road Trip
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:11/23/2013
JMU Holiday Road Trip
Join the JMU men’s basketball team as it hits the road for the Holiday season with eight games in five different states over one month.  The trip starts this Saturday as the Dukes travel 671 miles to Indiana to take on the Valparaiso Crusaders.
A Journey Five Years in the Making
One player knows every story behind head coach Matt Brady’s first five years at JMU.  That’s because Andrey Semenov has been a member of every single one of those squads.  As Matt Brady enters his sixth season, Semenov enters his final season at JMU following two medical redshirts in a career that has been marred by injury.  It’s this journey that has given Semenov a unique viewpoint and thrust him into a leadership role on and off the court.

Last year, coming off a season in which he averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from three-point range, Semenov looked primed to again be a major contributor for the Dukes.  Injuries limited him to seven games on the season as he was sidelined for JMU’s run to the CAA Championship and the NCAA Tournament Second Round.  “Unfortuantely Andrey has dealt with his fair share of injuries, but he’s persevered. He’s improved as a player and we think he’s on the verge of hopefully having his best season,” said Brady. 

In dealing with the injuries, Semenov has shown his determination and character to come back from adversity.  Semenov, when talking about his injuries says, “I’m going to come back from any injury that is thrown my way.  It’s really taking positive out of a negative.  Not getting down on yourself when you’re injured.”  It’s this attitude that has allowed Andrey to continue to grow as a player and adapt his game to the challenges.  “You accept that there’s going to be some problems with your body, and you learn how to manage your body and how you play and not being as reckless and picking your spots,” said Semenov.

With a second medical redshirt and a sixth season of eligibility, Semenov is now being looked to for much more than ever before. “On the court, he’s looking forward to being the older guy, shouldering the responsibility.  We’re going to play through him a lot late in the game because of his shot making ability,” said Coach Brady. 

It’s been evident early this season that Semenov will be looked to shoulder a larger role on the offensive end, while providing his characteristic defensive toughness and ability to fill up the stat sheet with assists, steals and blocks. 

What might be even more crucial for Andrey is the role he takes as a leader on and off the floor with a team featuring four sophomores and seven freshmen.  “I’ve become a mentor.  After every possession, in practice and games, we’re talking it out making sure we’re on the same page and the instruction and encouragement comes from me, and it has to come from me.  The young guys have been receptive to it and they’ve made my job easier with how much they’ve bought in and listened and hopefully it pays dividends.”  

How he guides the youngest team in the nation through the rough patches and ups and downs of the season will ultimately determine how the final chapter in the Andrey Semenov story is written.
Editors Note: Andrey Semenov did not travel with the team to Valparaiso due to injury.

Find out more about the Dukes first game against Valparaiso in the Holiday Road Trip here.  And be sure to catch your Dukes when they return from their Holiday trip when they take on Ball State in the Convocation Center on Monday, December 30th at 8 p.m.  For tickets call (540) 568-DUKE or visit www.jmusports.com/tickets.

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