SEATTLE (AP) -Mike Boxley came to Seattle University prepared to play college basketball for a Division II program.
Those days are over.
On Saturday, the forward will begin his senior year for the Redhawks with a game at Oklahoma State.
``I could never have imagined that this transition would happen,'' Boxley said. ``I think it was midway through my freshman year they just started talking about it. At the time ... it seemed like, 'no way.' I never imagined this is where I would be at.''
The trip to Oklahoma State is the first of a number of early season tests. The program is still shuffling in Division I talent, meshing them with players recruited to a Division II school, and all are learning the temperament and style of new coach Cameron Dollar, who's in his first Division I head coaching job.
tournament in Las Vegas and five of seven December games on the road.
No one said it would be easy to make the transition back to Division I athletics and without the security of a conference affiliation.
``We're not warming up. We're coming out of the gate on a dead sprint,'' Dollar said. ``But I'm from the old school where just throw them in the water. They'll survive.''
Last year, the Redhawks played a mixed schedule against Division I, Division II and NAIA programs and put together a 21-8 record, including a 13-8 mark against Division I foes. But under former coach Joe Callero, now at Cal Poly, the Redhawks played a controlled, slow-down style on offense with a scrappy defense, sometimes finding their best success by making the game ugly.
That's not Dollar's style. Instead, Seattle plans to run, pushing the tempo with an aggressive offense and pressure defense, and giving players the freedom to freelance within the gameplan.
Dollar will have some players to do it. Boxley, Aaron Broussard and Chris Gweth are the experienced holdovers and will be joined by athletic redshirt freshman forward Gavin Gilmore, guards Cervante Burrell and Garrett Lever, and the gem of the newcomers, Charles Garcia.
Originally headed to Washington, Garcia was denied admission across town and followed Dollar to Seattle. At 6-foot-10, Garcia has the athleticism to handle the ball on the perimeter or bang in the paint.
Seattle won't be eligible for the NCAA tournament until the 2012-13 season, but the Redhawks' goal is to be playing in the postseason.
``Our goal is the NIT. Whatever it takes to get there,'' Boxley said. ``Our plan is to finish the season in the NIT in New York.''

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