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Men’s basketball still on the prowl
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team is on the prowl once again. Coming off a 17-12 overall record and a 10-8 conference record in 2002-2003, the Bobcats look to build on their successes and improve on their weaknesses.
The team’s success will revolve around the four returning starters and the nine overall players who will be putting on the Bobcat jersey this season. Including those who are returning, are the team’s two leading scorers of a year ago, seniors Kason Mims of Astoria, New York, and Rashaun Banjo of Far Rockaway, New York, who each averaged 13.4 points per game. Both players, along with starting junior point guard Rob Monroe of Lanham, Maryland; make up the team’s tri-captain leadership.
Monroe, a three year starter, led the Bobcats in minutes played per game with 35.8, three pointers made with 55, and three pointers attempted with 151 last season. He was selected to the all-NEC team.
Besides leading the team in points per game, Mims led the team in total minutes played with 1004, free throws made with 98, free throws attempted with 169, assists with 135, and steals with 53. He tallied the most total points on the team with 389. Mims was also selected to the 2002-2003 all-NEC team.
Despite leading the team in numerous categories, Mims feels he needs to work on some aspects of his game.
“Personally the one thing I want to improve on is making the big plays down the stretch,” said Mims.
Mims will not be the only scoring threat on the floor for the Bobcats in 2003-2004 however. With the return of Banjo, the teams leading scorer along with Mims, opponents have to focus on both scoring threats. Banjo had a break out season in 2002-2003. He recorded career highs in minutes played per game with 27.6, rebounds per game with 5.3, total points with 388, and points scored per game with 13.4. He also led the team in most 20 point games with eight.
With three legitimate outside scoring threats, teams will have to focus on the perimeter game of the Bobcats. That is when the interior play becomes a factor. Junior power forward C.J. Vick of Springfield, Virginia, is coming off a break out campaign. Vick led the team in field goal percentage with .534 and blocked shots with 43; 30 more than the next player in that category. He was also second in offensive rebounds with 56 and fourth in defensive rebounds with 98. Despite these stats, Vick still believes he needs to improve.
“I need to cut down on my mistakes, make better decisions, and let the game come to me,” he said.
With the loss of Jeremy Bishop, who led the team in rebounding last year and who led the nation in rebounds per game in 2001-2002, Vick will be under more pressure to control the boards.
To help Vick in the lost post is sophomore Adam Tancredi of Santa Ana, California. The 6’9″ center averaged 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds per game in limited action last season. He is projected to start in the five spot to fill the void left by Bishop. Tancredi knows that in order to compete at a high level this season and meet the expectations, he must focus on his game.
“I would like to improve my rebounding skills and become a little more aggressive under the basket,” said Tancredi.
The team outscored its opponents last season by a total of 44 points including a 1012-946 advantage in the first half.
“We need to keep working hard,” said Vick. “The only way we will win is if we stay together as a team and believe in coach’s [DeSantis] system.”
The addition of five new players, including junior transfer Pierre Faye from Trinity Valley Junior College located in Texas, will help the Bobcats reach their goals. The incoming freshmen include Karl Anderson of Chester, New York, Christian Burns of Hamilton, New Jersey, Van Crafton of Hanover, Indiana, and Dale Mienbresse of Upper St. Claire, Pennsylvania.
“All of our recruits fit into the system,” said Tancredi. “They all can shoot and work really hard.”
After last season’s loss in the NEC semifinals to Wagner, the Bobcats now look to take advantage of their scoring threats and low post presence. They have been favored in various college basketball publications to win the NEC tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
“The team basically has to do what we have been doing over the past two years, stay together has a team and don’t let anything come between us,” Mims said.
Head coach Joe Desantis was given a contract extension through the 2007 season after the team’s performance last season. He is the fifth coach in the history of Quinnipiac. He was the 1999-2000 NEC coach of the year after leading the then called Braves to an 18-10 record.
With high hopes set for the men’s team, there is enough pressure to cause them to fold. But with the knowledge of coach DeSantis and the athletic abilities of Mims, Monroe, Vick, Banjo, and the rest of the team, the Bobcats are sure to give their rivals in the NEC a run for their money.