With an impressive 2016-17 season, the Men’s Basketball team hopes to continue their upward momentum in this season. Many factors will contribute to the Saints success this year, as many significant contributors graduated.
With the end of the 2016-17 season, the Saints lost five seniors, including Captain Kyle Edwards. Edwards was tied with fellow senior, Kyle Kobis, for most minutes played, with 32.3 per game. Senior point guard, Willie Zachery, fell into third with 31.7 minutes. These seniors also fell in the top three for categories such as steals, assists, and made field goals. The saints also graduated seniors Kieran Miller and Sam Adler, who also made great contributions.
This group of seniors were responsible for a huge turn around in the basketball program, as they went 10-15 in their first season as Saints, improving from 9-16 in the previous season. It only got better, peaking at their senior year with their first NCAA appearance since the 2009-10 season. They instilled a high level of work ethic and motivation in the program, a precedent that the returners hope to continue. A challenge they will hope to overcome is the loss they experienced at the ball handling position, with Kobis, Edwards, and Zachery all rotating at point guard and shooting guard positions.
Although the team experienced significant losses, they also return several key players. Riley Naclerio ’18 will be key for the Saints this year. Naclerio led the Saints with 511 points, 34 blocks, and 244 rebounds and has assumed the role of captain for the team. For the class of 2019, the Saints return Dom DeRegis, Chris Miner, and Ben Crawford. DeRegis averaged 20.7 minutes off the bench and accumulated 211 points, 77 rebounds, 15 steals, and 27 assists. DeRegis will play a large role in replacing the ball handlers. Miner was battling an injury last season, but was still able to make big contributions and is expected to contribute even more this season. Lastly, Ben Crawford, who was one of the main starters last year and tallied 281 points and 107 rebounds on the season, will return this season. The Saints also return David Gagas ’20, Tinga Adiang ’20, Jack Twardy ’20 to the roster, as well as an additional eight freshmen, many of whom are expected to make contributions this season.
This season, the Saints add a new assistant coach, Corey Begly. Begly is a St. Lawrence Alum, who was a part of the 2008-09 team that made it to the “Sweet 16” in the NCAA tournament. He comes to St. Lawrence following a four-year career at Hyde School in Maine. He was named co-coach of the year in his last season at Hyde School, and Senior Riley Naclerio says, “We are lucky to have him, he’s the GOAT.”
A change the Saints will experience this year is the addition of Ithaca College to the Liberty League. Ithaca was previously part of the Empire 8, going 9-16 in the 2016-17 season. This doesn’t speak to the quality of Ithaca’s team, as the Empire 8 is a very competitive league, with the top team, St. John Fischer’s, making it to the second round of the NCAA round last year. They are expected to raise the level of competition this year.
With all of these changes and additions, what will be constant is that the Saints will continue their high level of work ethic and competitiveness. Naclerio stated that the team’s goals are winning the Liberty League and advancing to the NCAA tournament. The Saints open their season Friday, November 17 in the Rick Martin Tournament against Bowdoin College.