Men's Basketball Season Preview
Coast Guard returns plenty of veterans including four starters while adding in six freshmen as the Bears look to improve upon a record of 8-14 overall and 2-10 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), missing the conference tournament for the first time.
Senior co-captains Jimmy Knudsen and Greg Marshall as well as Ed Gailor have had a good preseason and will provide leadership and will be counted on to lead the team all year.
Marshall, a NEWMAC second team All-conference selection last season, was the top three-point shooter in the conference, shooting 45.2 percent from behind the arc (38-84), and led the Bears and was fourth in the NEWMAC with 15.7 points per game.
Knudsen, a forward, started all 22 games last season and averaged eight points and led the team with 5.7 rebounds per game last season. Gailor (2.7 ppg.) is expected to see his minutes increase this season at the guard spot.
Junior guard Devonte Weems (7.2 ppg./3.2 apg.) and forward John Benedict (5.0 ppg./3.9 rpg.) will be leaned on to carry more of the load this season. Weems started 21 games last season while Benedict made nine starts. Junior Kevin Sowers (11.3 ppg.) , a former NEWMAC Rookie of the Year, who made 18 starts last season and led the team with four assists per game, is out indefinitely with a back injury.
Sophomore David Anderson (10.9 ppg./5.5 rpg.), who started 13 games last season in the front court, is bigger and stronger and his development will be a key to the Bears success this season.
The sophomore class of guard Eli Sponseller along with forwards Zach Wells and Will Doyle, who didn't see much time last season, will all enjoy an expanded role in what coach head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz, in this fourth season, called an all hands on deck approach.
Jaskiewicz, in his fourth season, brought in a talented group of freshmen, many of which will compete for minutes right away.
Forwards Joe Whitman, Ryan McNeil, guard Kevin Alvarez and center Aurimas Juodka will make immediate contributions.
"The seniors have done a great job of communicating our offensive and defensive systems to the younger players,"said Jaskiewicz. "We have to go out night in and night out and compete, execute and display mental and physical toughness."
Coast Guard which competes in the extremely challenging NEWMAC, which features MIT, the #1 team in the nation in the D3hoops.com preseason poll, played an exhibition game against Division I Rhode Island and also scrimmaged Eastern Connecticut, a team which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III tournament last season. The Bears open the regular season at the Williams tournament, against Salem State, another NCAA tournament team from last season.
"We have a good schedule and we need to get ready for the difficult conference schedule which is why we schedule difficult non-league games," said Jaskiewicz. "The NEWMAC is a dog fight every night, the league has great teams and great coaches. We want to qualify for the conference tournament and to do that, we have to be prepared to play hard every night."