New era begins for QU basketball
What a difference a year has made for the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team.
One year ago, former head coach Joe DeSantis was heading into his eleventh season of guiding the Bobcats. Last year, the Bobcats were still playing their home games at Burt Kahn Court and patiently awaiting the completion of the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
This year, the Bobcats have a new head coach, Tom Moore, and now have permanently moved into their new home at TD Banknorth.
After the departure of DeSantis in March, Quinnipiac began a search for their new head coach. Three weeks later, the Bobcats found their new coach just up the road in Storrs, Conn. Before taking his first Division I head coaching job at Quinnipiac, Moore had spent the last 13 years with some very successful teams at UConn. Moore said he is excited about the possibilities at Quinnipiac.
“I’m excited and it’s great to be starting this rebuilding project,” Moore said. “The building is such an incredible new facility and it has brought so much school spirit and so much pride to the Quinnipiac community. It’s a real privilege to be working with the first varsity basketball team to ever play a season here.”
Moore said that the first week of practices had been going well for his team, but they are battling some injuries that have slowed the team’s progress. Senior DeMario Anderson has been bothered by a meniscus injury, and fellow senior Karl Anderson has also been slowed by injury. Moore expects that both will be back for the season opener.
When DeMario returns from his injury, he will be the primary scorer for the Bobcats for the second straight season. Last year, he averaged 15.7 points per game while serving as the team’s sixth man for most of the season. Not only will the Bobcats need the All-NEC Preseason team selection to score, but they will need him to step into the leadership role this season as well. Moore believes that DeMario has done a good job accepting his new role as the team’s leader.
“He’s really excited about being the leader of this group because he had the six older guys here last year and I don’t ever think he felt as if it was his team,” Moore said. “This year, ever since day one he’s really tried to be a leader off the court, in the weight room, and during individual workouts.”
Moore says that DeMario wants to heal up as fast as possible so he can get back on the court with the rest of his teammates.
“I think it’s killing him to not be able to be out their in practice,” Moore said. “I expect when he gets back fully healthy we’ll have of the best all-around players in the league.”
Quinnipiac also returns super-quick sophomore point guard, Casey Cosgrove.
Last season, Cosgrove played in all 29 games and started in 22 of them. In only his freshman season, Cosgrove’s 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio was the best in the NEC in 2006-07. Moore likes what he has seen from Cosgrove so far in practice this season.
“Casey Cosgrove is a very hard worker,” Moore said. “He’s a gym rat and he really pushes himself really hard everyday.”
The Bobcats will also receive the services of Bryan Geffen this season. Geffen played the 2004-05 and 2005-06 season with Boston University. In his freshman campaign, Geffen played in 28 of his teams 29 games. A year later, Geffen averaged 4.5 points a game for the Terriers. After two seasons with the Terriers, Geffen transfered to Quinnipiac and had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The junior guard will provide the Bobcats with a threat from behind the arc.
“Geffen is excited about playing after sitting out after transferring from BU,” Moore said. “He’s a good spot-up shooter who sees the floor pretty well. He can play some two and some one.”
There will be a lot of new players that will see time on the court for the Bobcats this season.
Brothers Evann and Jeremy Baker will provide the Bobcats with depth at the guard positions. Evann, who is a freshman, averaged 22 points per game for Maine Central Institute last season.
Jeremy spent the last two seasons playing for Garden City Community College in the ultra-competitive Jayhawk Community Conference.
Freshman Justin Rutty and junior Louis Brookins will provide the Bobcats with some size in the paint. Rutty and Brookins will look to fill the void left by Victor Akinyanju who had averaged 7 rebounds per game last season.
Last week, Quinnipiac was picked to finish fifth in the Northeast Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll. Moore was surprised by how high his team was selected, because of how his team stacks up on paper.
“I was a little surprised by fifth only because we lost six of our top eight players statistically off of last year’s team,” Moore said. “I believe we returned the lowest percentage of scoring of any team in the league.”
Quinnipiac will open its season on Sunday Nov. 11 when the University of Hartford comes to take on the Bobcats at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Some other games to mark down on the calendar include the trip to Storrs when Moore will return to UConn on Dec. 16.
Also, defending NEC champion CCSU comes to Hamden on Feb. 7. The Bobcats will look to seek revenge on pre-season NEC favorite Sacred Heart on Feb. 23. Last season, the Pioneers knocked the Bobcats out of the NEC tournament.
“I’ve told our guys that because of Quinnipiac’s academic reputation, and the quality of this building we’re in now and the commitment that this university has made to men’s basketball, I think it should be our stated goal each year to be one of the best programs in this league,” Moore said.
Only time will tell if the Bobcats will receive their first invitation to the dance known as March Madness.