Team Previews/Players to Watch
Frostburg State looks to return to the top tier of the AMCC
after posting disappointing 10-16 overall and 5-7 records in 2002-03.
The Bobcats and fifth-year head coach Webb Hatch will have to overcome
the loss of Pierre Bowery, the schoolís all-time leading shot blocker
(192) and second leading scorer (1,809 points), and welcome back two
starters in senior guard Ryan Grabill (Williamsport/Boonsboro,
MD) who averaged 7.3 ppg and 4.3 apg and senior forward
(Stephen Decatur/ Berlin, MD)
7.0 ppg and 2.9 rpg last season.
Junior guard Chris Vaughn (5.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 29
3FG) and much-improved sophomore forward Dan Ryley (1.3 ppg, 1.3
rpg) are among the key returners, while Waynesburg transfer David
Quay and junior college transfer Paul Owens should give the
Bobcats some needed muscle inside.
The Redhawks men's basketball team enters the 2003-04 season
with high hopes.
After a second place regular season finish a year ago, the Redhawks are
determined to continue their climb toward the top of the AMCC. Head
coach Scott Lang, entering his seventh season, will have a very
experienced group after having 10 freshmen on the roster a year ago.
Senior point guard Cliff Foster (Knoch/Sarver, PA) is the catalyst. Foster, a four-year
starter, has led the AMCC in assists for three consecutive years and led
the conference in steals last season. He, along with returnees junior
Demetris Pringle (Sto Rox/Pittsburgh, PA) and sophomore Anthony Ovial
(Ellwood City/Ellwood City, PA) will give the Redhawks
great leadership and experience at both guard positions. Pringle is an
explosive scorer and vastly improved defender.
With five seniors returning, including first-team All-AMCC
selection Tony Tibayan (Harvey HS/Painesville, OH) and third-team honoree
Michael Rustifo (Massillion Perry HS/Canton, OH), the Lake
Erie College menís basketball team boasts high hopes for the 2003-2004
campaign. The Stormís veteran leadership has the potential to guide
Lake Erie to the top of the conference standings. This yearís squad
will look to improve on a fourth place regular season AMCC finish and
semi-final appearance in the conference tournament.
In addition to Tibayan and Rustifo, seniors Dan Crawford, Aaron Johnson
and Josh Smith will complement a wealth of young talent that includes
junior Nate Malensek, seven freshmen and a junior college transfer.
Headed by Jim Dolan, who is in his fourth season, this Lake Erie teamís
potential has the entire campus ready for the final hoops campaign in
PENN STATE ALTOONA
A winning season.
That's the goal for the Penn State Altoona men's basketball team led by
second year head coach Arman Gilliam. Although the team is coming off a
two-win season a year ago, including a major upset of the second seeded
team in the AMCC tournament, the experience will prove vital as the
squad has a solid group of returning players as well as some incoming
freshman playing at Ivy Side.
Senior center Brandon Battles (Cornell HS/Coraopolis, PA) will be
leading the way for the Lions. Battles, a member of last season's
all-conference second team, is the team captain and, according to his
coach, the team leader and "go-to" guy who averaged 16.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg
in 2002-03. Gilliam also looks for freshman Tyler Franklin
of Altoona to make a big impact in his first season with the team.
Franklin has already played his way into a starting gaurd position.
The Lions will be without Rasheed Bey, a 6-5 junior who broke his
leg in a pre-season scrimmage against Clarion University.
PENN STATE BEHREND
Last year the Behrend Lions team won the AMCC regular-season
championship, finished as the runners-up in the conference tournament,
and made it to the postseason for the sixth time in seven years with
only one senior. This year coach Dave Niland's team reloads with four
talented seniors. With this kind of experience in place the team expects
to better last year's 20-9 record. The seniors have guided the program
to a 52-30 mark, three consecutive AMCC conference tournament
appearances, and two ECAC appearances in three years.
This year's senior captains are James Curren (Warren/Warren, PA),
Hairston (Cathedral Prep/Erie, PA), Casey Ponsoll (General McLane/Edinboro,
and Mike Schodt (McDowell/Erie, PA). Curren, a 6'6 starting center, returns
after being named the AMCC Player of the Year last season after
averaging a team-high 17.7 ppg and working for 6.6 rpg. He will
continue to break school records this season, including the all-time
scoring record of 1,466. Curren has accumulated 1,296 career points and
is currently third on the books. Hairston, a second-team all-AMCC forward, and Ponsoll
will look to surpass the 1,000 point plateau this season. They enter
the season in the top-twenty for career points scored with 775 and 757
respectively. Hairston is a nightly double-double candidate and also
enters the season with 435 career rebounds (18th all-time), while
Ponsoll is a 40 % shooter from behind the arc and is seventh all-time
for three-pointers made with 117.
For the second straight year the Panthers captured the Allegheny
Mountain Collegiate Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Division
IIITournament. At 22-7, it was the programís ninth straight 16-plus win
season under 11-year head coach Andy Moore (175-97).
This campaign Moore must find
replacements for Matt Beacom and Doug
Schneider, who played big roles in the aforementioned three-year
success. Beacom finished second in career scoring (2,075 points) and
rebounding (1,031) at Pitt-Bradford, while Schneider is the schoolís
all-time leader in three-point field goal accuracy (.454 %) and was the
Division III national leader (54.5%) in the same category as a junior.
The Panthers return 11 players with
experience. The seniors include guard Chris Wuest
(Spencerport/Spencerport, NY), forward Matt
Rowles (Clearfield/Clearfield, PA), guard Steven Douglass
(Baldwin/Pittsburgh, PA), guard Erik Siuta
(Pavillion/ Wyoming, NY) and center Bill
Torrey (Portville/Portville, NY).
The juniors will be led by guard Aaron Kiffer (Olean/Olean, NY),
along with guard Jeff McMahon (Portville/Portville, NY) and guard
Brian Hobbs (Otto-Eldred/Eldred, PA). The sophomores
include guard Tim Gustin (Oswayo
Valley/Shinglehouse, PA), forward Sean DePue
(Wellsville/Wellsville, NY) and forward Louis Benton (Performing
The 2003-04 University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg men's basketball team
look to build on the exciting foundation they established in 2002-03
under first-year head coach Marcus Kahn. Despite losing their final five
games of the season, UPG finished 14-12 overall, their first winning
season since 1999-2000. The Bobcats jumped out to a 7-3 start and spent
a large part of the season among the leaders in scoring offense in NCAA
Division III, finishing as the leader in the AMCC at 79.4 ppg.
The Bobcats return nine letter winners and four starters from a season
ago. Helping supply the foundation will be five seniors including a trio
of key performers from a season ago. Guard/forward Scott Winfrey
(Uniontown/Uniontown, PA) returns for his fourth
season in the Bobcat lineup. An Honorable Mention All-AMCC performer in
2000-2001, Winfrey averaged 4.6 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 21 games a year ago.
Guards Jerry McMeekin (Schenley HS/CCAC-Allegheny/Pittsburgh, PA)
and Isaiah Blanciak (Kiski Area HS/Thiel/Vandergrift, PA) return
after debuting for the
Bobcats a season ago. Blanciak, who spent his first two seasons at Thiel
College, was an offensive spark for UPG, averaging 11.5 ppg and making
33 three-point field goals. McMeekin, who spent two seasons at CCAC-Allegheny
before coming to UPG, had a similar impact, adding 6.5 ppg and finishing
9th in the AMCC with a 35.8% three-point field goal percentage.
A group of four juniors will supply the strength of the rising program,
led by 2003 First Team All-AMCC selection, Kevin Conlon
(Bellwood-Antis/Altoona, PA). Conlon led the Bobcats in scoring
(13.4 PPG), Assists (87), and three-point field goals (34). He also
averaged 4.7 rpg and added 40 steals. Another key contributor is
guard Ryan Moye (Washington/Washington, PA). Moye, the 2001-2002
AMCC Newcomer of the Year, averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game
in 2002-03. Also in the mix are guard John Pulley (South
Western/Hanover, PA) and guard/forward Nate Watkins (Schenley/Pittsburgh,
PA). Pulley averaged 7.0 points per game, while dishing out 56
assists and grabbing 33 steals. Watkins averaged 7.0 points per game,
while totaling 39 steals and leading the team with 5.1 rebounds per