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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2012

Mabry getting used to making adjustments

Owens freshman notes intensity of college ball

Milan Mabry is a freshman at Owens, and his role is simple: just shoot. Mabry is 'one of the best shooters on the team,' said Owens coach Dave Clarke. Milan Mabry is a freshman at Owens, and his role is simple: just shoot. Mabry is 'one of the best shooters on the team,' said Owens coach Dave Clarke.

Milan Mabry has learned that change is inevitable when it comes to playing basketball.

This year Mabry is playing for his third team in three seasons -- but that makes sense, in part because he's a freshman on the Owens Community College men's basketball team after graduating from Bowsher last May. Mabry spent just one season at Bowsher after playing for three seasons at Libbey, which was closed following his junior year.

Mabry said the adjustment from Libbey to Bowsher wasn't as difficult as you might think.

"Basically, I didn't make any adjustment -- the coaches [at Bowsher] adjusted to how we played at Libbey," Mabry said. "At Libbey we ran transition offense and pushed the ball, and we had the height and talent to use a full-court trap [on defense], and that's what we did at Bowsher, too."

Last season Mabry was named All-City League third team and received special mention on the all-district team. He was a two-year letterman at Libbey and also was part of the 2008 freshmen team at Libbey that went 19-0 and won the City League title.

Mabry's role at Owens this season is simple: Shoot, especially from behind the 3-point arc.

"When I decided to go to Owens, the coaches told me my role would be to come in and knock down shots," he said.

It's a role he has filled well, ranking fourth on the team with 19 3-pointers made in limited minutes spread over 23 games.

"He definitely has the ability to shoot the 3," Owens coach Dave Clarke said of Mabry. "He's one of the best shooters on the team. He can change the game just by shooting 3-pointers."

Milan Mabry Milan Mabry

There is one adjustment Mabry has had to make in his move from high school ball to college: Dealing with the increased intensity of the college game.

"You can't just lollygag up the floor. You have to go straight to a spot and play hard," Mabry said. "I know I have to be more of a defensive player -- I can't be all about offense. I know I have to shore up my defense and contain my man, because if I don't play defense, I don't play."

The 6-3 freshman, who averages 3.7 points per game, is making strides, according to Clarke.

"He's coming along defensively," Clarke said. "When he came here, I don't think he realized how hard you have to play -- every possession you have to play as hard as you can."

Mabry said he plans to expand his all-around game in the off-season.

"I need to work on my defense and rebound the ball a little better," he said. "I need to get bigger and stronger. And I especially want to work on ball-handling. When I play guard, I know I have to help the point guard bring the ball up, especially under pressure, and I can learn to handle the ball better."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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