METRO/Jeff Harper Jonah Taussig, who is in his first season as head coach of the Saint Mary’s Huskies men’s basketball team, conducts practice at Homburg Centre.

From the head coach to the starting five to the players off the bench, the Saint Mary’s Huskies have a fresh new look this season.

Jonah Taussig embarks on his first season as Saint Mary’s men’s basketball head coach and has three new starters along with a handful of other newcomers vying for floor time.

Taussig, a former two-time all-Canadian guard who captained Saint Mary’s to a national title in 1999, guided the Huskies to a 6-3 record in the pre-season.

“The biggest challenge is to mesh all of these new bodies,” said Taussig, who spent eight years as an assistant to now-retired Ross Quackenbush.

“It’s by and large a brand-new team. It’s bringing them together as a team and getting them to understand each other’s strengths and learning to play together.”

Guard Miguel Pink and forwards Harry Ezenibe and Riley Halpin are the Huskies’ key returnees, while point guard Johnny Higgins out of Baltimore and forward Kevin Thomas out of Malton, Ont., will round out the initial starting five.

Higgins was most valuable player of the Eric Garland pre-season tournament in Fredericton, N.B., in late September and Taussig described him as a floor general who “can do it all.”

And more help is on the way. Jordan Lee, a transfer from NCAA Division I Coppin State, is eligible to suit up for the Huskies starting Nov. 23. Also from Baltimore, Lee averaged 10.4 points per game in the NCAA in 2011-12.

“He’s a very good athlete who shoots the ball really well,” Taussig said. “He’ll help the team from Day 1, for sure.”

Brian Rouse, last season’s Atlantic University Sport rookie of the year, will miss the first two months for undisclosed reasons but should rejoin the team in January.

The Huskies made it to the AUS semifinals last season after a 9-11 campaign but haven’t won a championship since 2007-08. If Taussig’s troops continue to jell, he hopes they’ll contend.

“At times, we’ve looked pretty good, and at times, we’ve looked pretty bad,” Taussig said. “I think we’re in the mix, but to say where we’ll end up is a little premature.”

OPENING WEEKEND

The Huskies’ men’s and women’s teams host the only games on the AUS basketball schedule on opening weekend. The Memorial Sea-Hawks will visit Homburg Centre on Saturday at 6 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.

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