HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR MENS BBALL TEAM
Pre-Season talk with Men's Coach Luke D'Alessio
By: Alex Brown
The Men's Basketball Team embarks on a new season with high hopes placed on themselves from both themselves and their opponents in the CIAA, as the Bulldogs are predicted to finish first in the tough Eastern Division in which 3 teams last season finished with over 20 wins. Head Coach Luke D'Alessio is looking to capture his 200th win in just his 10th season as Bulldogs coach in which he is averaging almost 20 wins a season and is doing a great job year in and year out. The Bulldogs are coming into this season riding a 13 game winning streak when playing in the friendly confines of A. C. Jordan Arena which is currently the longest home winning streak in the CIAA, and are looking to capture their first CIAA Championship since 2003 and to improve on a 21-8 record from last season.
Setting the expectations high for his Bulldogs squad Coach Luke says, "The question is whether we can get it up to 25, 26-30 games a year is the goal... We try to get at least 25 [wins] and over, but we expect to win 20 games that's always been something that we expect to do. So how much we can improve on top of that will be the difference between us winning a CIAA championship and going to the NCAA [tournament] and winning a National Championship."
The Bulldogs will look to rely on some of the role players from last season squad to be major contributors for them on their route through the tough CIAA schedule that includes 20 conference games. The Bulldogs will open up this season with their top last eight leading scorers from last season team no longer on the roster which only means that this season it will be a different bunch of talented individuals filling up the scoreboards and keeping the fans enthused this season. As this season's roster welcomes seven new faces in which some have been around with the team and are looking to be just what the Bulldogs look for to become contenders in the CIAA. As this season nears tip off the Bulldogs will return from last season's Bulldog team will be Senior Forward Curtis Massey (Upper Marlboro, MD, Dodge City CC); Junior Guards Corey Camphor (Upper Marlboro, MD, Dematha HS), Jeron Jackson (Kensington, MD, Albert Einstein HS) and Corey Stevens (Glenarden, MD, Good Counsel HS); and Sophomore Guard Matthew Legare (Glen Burnie, MD, Antioch Christian School).
One key addition to the Bulldogs roster is Junior Forward Duke Crews (Hampton, Va., Bethel HS) who played at the University of Tennessee last season where he averaged 5.4 points per game last season in 14.8 minutes per game after his minutes dropped from his first season as he averaged 19.8 minutes and averaged 8.4 points per game as a freshman at Tennessee. Crews has been named to pre-season All-CIAA team without playing a single game in the CIAA because of his previous accomplishments and because of the raw talent that Crews possesses. Coach Luke said of the honor, "... going into my 10th year hear I have never seen a player on the preseason All-CIAA team [without playing a game] because usually the coaches vote on the team and vote on it and they usually vote on familiar players from previous years."
"He has a big reputation since his high school days; he is the first McDonald's High School All- American out of high school, you don't get those in Division II that's very hard to do... So we have high expectations for him and so does the conference. But he is not the only one we have some other really good players around him that will make the difference", says Coach Luke.
Other additions to this year's roster include guards Andrew Engel (Glen Burnie, MD, Colby CC), Armond Hill (Silver Spring, MD, Rockville CC), Charles Richardson (Suitland, MD, Takoma Park CC) and Delmar Carey (Charlotteville, VA, Coastal Georgia CC). Cassin Diggs (Williamsport, PA, University of Pittsburgh) and Kris Wood (Central Falls, RI, CC of Rhode Island) are the centers to round out the Bulldog roster.
The Bulldogs open up the season this Friday November 7th with an exhibition game held at the Verizon Center that will be played at 3:00 p.m. and will be followed by the pros as the New York Knicks play against the Washington Wizards. Then the Bulldogs host the Bulldogs Classic on Saturday, November 15th at 5:30p.m. as they take on conference foe Lincoln University of Pa., which would set up a good Bulldogs Classic Championship that following day between that winner and the winner of Pfeiffer University and Columbia University. Another day to note on your calendar is Dec 1st when the Bulldogs take on our most disliked rival Virginia Union in the Big Apple Classic at Madison Square Garden. For ticket info call (301)-860-3744.