Rod Barnes has a simple message for the players who earn starting roles in Saturday's season-opening exhibition matchup against Westcliff.
Don't get too comfortable.
Seven out of 12 players on the Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball roster have yet to play a regular-season contest in a Roadrunner uniform. As a result, Barnes expects it will take time to determine what group works together best, and won't be afraid to make frequent adjustments.
"Our starting lineup is probably going to change for awhile," Barnes said. "We may change from week-to-week, and not (because) anyone did anything. It's very competitive out there."
Such practices are nothing new to the Roadrunners, who used 10 different starting combinations a season ago. Only one player, All-WAC guard Jarkel Joiner, started all 34 games.
Movement was particularly frequent early on, as it took six games before CSUB used the same starting lineup in consecutive games.
Though the full starting five is up in the air, Barnes seems confident that at least three players will be on the floor at the start of Saturday's exhibition.
Redshirt junior transfers Cam Allen and De'Monte Buckingham are expected to fill backcourt spots. Allen, a point guard, was granted immediate eligibility after transferring from Loyola Marymount last May, while Buckingham, a wing, sat out last season after coming over from Richmond in 2018.
Though unsure if he'll play at wing, small forward or power forward, Barnes also plans to find a starting role for junior Justin Edler-Davis, the team's top returning scorer and rebounder. Elder-Davis has started 37 games in two seasons with the Roadrunners, including 26 last season.
Forward Greg Lee (25) and guards Justin McCall (9) and Taze Moore (4) also started multiple games a season ago.
While Barnes previously said he'd "probably be favorable to guys that are returning" early in the season, all bets are off when game play begins, as nine players are said to currently be in the running for starting roles.
"There's people that are pushing those guys every day," Barnes said. "A lot of it will be how we want to play, because I think we have that kind of versatility."
Saturday's exhibition tips off at 7 p.m. at the Icardo Center.