Today: May 29, 2024

Michael Donnelly hopes to take men’s basketball to next level

photo courtesy southernctowls.com
Senior Kieran Ramsey led the Owls in rebounding last season with 177.

RYAN FLYNN — Staff Writer

For the first time in years, there is reason to get excited about Southern Connecticut State University’s Men’s Basketball team. Last year, under the leadership of first-year head coach Michael Donnelly, the team went 12-15, winning one more game than they had in the previous three seasons combined.

This season, Donnelly looks to continue to lead his team on their upward climb.

“The foundation was really set last year,” Donnelly said, “and that’s something we talked about all last year. All the winning attributes that a program needs: being solid guys off the court. Making sure that their academics are a top priority. Being unselfish teammates, being coachable; being positive role models on campus.”

The roster features forward Trevon Hamlet. The Sporting News named the 6’6 junior, from Brooklyn, N.Y., a preseason honorable mention All-American. As a sophomore, Hamlet was an All-Northeast-10 conference selection and led the team in both blocks and points per game.

“Trevon is our best returning player,” Donnelly said. “If he can play up to the level he’s capable of playing night-in and night-out, we think he’s going to be one of the better players not only in the conference, but in the region. He’s really diversified his game; he’s added about 10 pounds of muscle. He can do a lot of things at his size.”

Hamlet, along with senior forward Kieran Ramsey and senior guard Chris Harris, is one of only three eligible upperclassmen on the roster. With so much youth, it is imperative for players like Ramsey to step up and take leadership roles.

“Definitely,” Ramsey said, of wanting to take said role. “Both on and off the court, taking that leadership role and showing the younger guys the way and just leading by example at the end of the day. I think that even though we do have a young roster everybody is pretty mature and I think can compete at this level and make an impact immediately.”

Following two seasons with records of 2-25, including just one road win, the Owls boosted their record by 10 wins in Donnelly’s first season as head coach.

“We look to continue where we left off,” Hamlet said. “Hopefully we can double that win total this year and prove we are one of the top teams in the NE-10.”

Though the roster is young, Donnelly believes that they have plenty of talent. Freshman phenom Greg Langston, who hit two buzzer beaters in his first year on the team, returns looking to have a strong sophomore campaign. His cousin Dominique Langston, a 6’4 sophomore, has also entered the fray as a transfer from Quinnipiac. He will likely be one of the most talented newcomers in the league, Donnelly said.

“We’re really high on all of our freshman,” said Donnelly. “You add the two seniors that we have, Kieran and Chris, who have a ton of experience, (and) if we can do our job as coaches blending everything together, we think that we can definitely, you know, have a real good year and really improve on last year’s win total.”

Another leap in the win column would likely put this team in contention for a Northeast-10 conference title. For Ramsey, a senior, an accomplishment like that would be the perfect way to finish off his collegiate career.

“I think overall just being my senior season is bittersweet,” he said. “It went by so fast, but I just want to make this my best season of all, both individually and as a team. I really do have high hopes and expectations and I think that it definitely could be special.”

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