Today: Apr 23, 2024

Men’s Basketball season tips off next Saturday

Ryan Flynn – Sports Editor

The season is finally here. Friday Nov. 10th, against Goldey-Beacom College in Bridgeport, the 2012-2013 Owls campaign is set to begin. The team, which went 14-13 overall, finished last year on a four-game winning streak before losing handily in the first round of the Northeast-10 tournament. All five starters from that late-season run return this year.

That starting unit includes the two-headed monster that is Greg Langston and Trevon Hamlet. Both men scored over 16 points last season, tops on the team. Hamlet also led the team in rebounding and blocks with 61, as well as three-point percentage.

For Langston, the off-season was a chance for him to work on a specific facet of his game: defense. The junior wingman said that he committed this summer to getting better in that area.

“Myself, I just worked on being a better defender, moving my feet more. Last year I proved that I could kind of score in this league so I tried to work on other aspects of my game. One of the other aspects is defense,” Langston said. “I try to be one of the defensive leaders on this team and do whatever I can on defense whether it’s taking charges or help defense, that’s what I try to do.”

Junior guard/forward Dominique Langston, who was third on the team in scoring and first in assists last season, is ineligible and will not play this season. Head coach Michael Donnelly spoke about replacing one of his best playmakers.

“It’s difficult because he was a big part of our team last year. But, that being said, I like the new guys that we brought in, they’re going to have to play a role. And the returners, there’s going to be more responsibility to offset his loss.”

Replacing much of that production will be sophomore point guard Tylon Smith. After serving as a spark off the bench early in the season, Smith’s play earned him a spot in the starting lineup. In the playoff loss to Umass-Lowell, with Langston and Hamlet both basically shut down by the opposing defense, it was Smith who rose to the challenge and scored a career high 25 points on an efficient 11-for-15 shooting from the floor.

In the end, it wasn’t enough to lead the team to a win, but it was certainly a great sign for Smith, who enters his second year with

“This year I’m a lot more confident just because of the type of season I had, I have a season under me, a lot of minutes as a freshman,” Smith said. “I feel a lot more comfortable, the starting five has been together for at least nine games now. I’m comfortable with the team, I’m comfortable with the coaches, I know what to expect and what they expect out of me.”

Smith spoke about how he’ll try to be much more vocal this year as a point guard. The talent is obviously there, and if Smith can command the offense and cut down on his turnovers, this Owls team becomes much more formidable.

“Last year as a freshman, I was coming into a system, new guys, new coaches so it was hard to be vocal to guys that are older than you,” he said. “But, now, this year, my main thing I wanted to work on during the season was being more vocal, being that leader on the floor, directing everyone and whenever we get down being the one to bring us back up.”

Donnelly said that the team had planned to use the starting five that keyed the 4-1 finish last year, that being Smith, Langston, Hamlet, sophomore forward Jose Cruz and sophomore guard Luke Houston.

Cruz is an imposing figure at 6’7; a good rebounder with a good enough handle to beat his man off the dribble on a few occasions in the scrimmage against Post last Friday night.

“We thought we were set on a starting five, but we told the guys in the locker room, now it’s time to ratchet up the pressure. Nothing’s set in stone because I think we’ve got some new guys who are going to push our returners.”

Houston provides another shooter on the floor and much needed spacing for a team that struggled to shoot the three effectively last season, shooting just .299 as a team.

“I think we just have to be confident in our shot,” Smith said. “We all basically can shoot the ball, so if we’re just confident and let it go, we’ll get good results.”

The freshmen impressed during the home scrimmage against Post, especially DeShawn Murphy, another rangy, athletic wing with real shooting ability. Forward Jack McCarthy also looked good, running the floor and finishing layups in traffic. If nothing else, this team appears deeper than last season’s squad, with a bit more experience at key spots. Whether that leads to a legitimate postseason run, only time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog