LOWELL -- Now in his sixth season as the head coach of the UMass Lowell men's basketball team, Pat Duquette has done something he's never done before.

He has appointed team captains.

Senior guard Ryan Jones and senior forward Josh Gantz were the unanimous selections from both their teammates and Duquette's coaching staff to serve as captains. Both players started all 30 games last season for the 12-18 River Hawks.

"It's definitely a big honor that the coaches put that trust in us," said the 6-foot-3 Jones, a native of Rio Rancho, N.M., who averaged 11.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season. "But, honestly, we've treated it like that every day, nothing really has changed. Just trying to help the young ones along and help this team grow every day."

College basketball practices officially began two weeks ago. UMass Lowell opens up the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at UMass Amherst. Leadership may be particularly important this season because the River Hawks have welcomed seven freshmen into the mix, by far Duquette's biggest incoming class.

"I want to see our guys start to hold themselves more accountable and rely less on us as coaches," said Duquette.

"I feel really comfortable with Ryan and Josh leading the way. We talked about it a lot as coaches and for a variety of reasons we felt like this was a year where it would be really beneficial to have captains, and we felt both Ryan and Josh earned it. So we decided to do it."