ONEONTA, NY (WKTV) - Despite losing three of its starters from last season, the Hartwick men’s basketball team will look to mirror its efforts of 2011-12. Last year, the Hawks raced out to a 12-0 record to finish 23-4 and tie the program record for wins. Hartwick won the Empire 8 regular season title and qualified for both the Empire 8 and NCAA Tournaments for the second straight season.
“We are coming off another great season tying the team record for wins and winning Hartwick’s first-ever Empire 8 regular season title,” said head coach Todd McGuinness who was named the 2012 Empire 8 Coach of the Year. “We lost three great players, two of which were 1,000 point scorers, and a starting point guard that will be very hard to replace.”
Returning for his junior campaign is last year’s top scorer Jared Suderley (Newport, NY/West Canada Valley), who was just named a D3hoops.com Preseason All-America First Team last week. Last season, Suderley was named a D3hoops.com and a NABC Coaches’ Division All-American. He was also selected to the NABC East Region All-District First Team, the D3hoops.com All-East Region First Team, the ECAC Upstate First Team and was named the Empire 8 Conference Player of the Year.
Suderley finished the season second overall in scoring in the E8 (17.4 ppg). He was also second in free-throw percentage (.863), field-goal percentage (.528), and 7th in rebounds (8.1).
Against Farmingdale State in the NCAA Tournament, Suderley scored a career-high 40 points. In the process, he became just the second player in program history in reach 1,000 points in their first two years.
“Jared has had two great years so far and I hope he has another outstanding year for us this season,” McGuinness added.
Starting at point guard will be junior Christian Laputka (Freeland, PA/Hazleton Area). He will be asked to carry more minutes than in previous years.
“Christian is an extremely hard worker and a pest to play against,” noted McGuinness. Pushing Laputka for minutes will be junior Mike Henson (Pelham, NY/Pelham Memorial) and freshman Ryan Gill (Seaville, NJ/Ocean City).
At shooting guard is junior Mike Geisser (East Hanover, NJ/Hanover Park). Last season, Geisser played in all 27 games and started nine. He scored in double digits the last five games of the year and had a career-high 19 points against Ithaca with a 5-for-5 showing from beyond the three-point arc.
“Mike has started for parts of two years and really came on at the end of last year and will be counted on for shooting and playmaking,” McGuinness said. Expected to compete for time will be freshman Glenn Gavan (Newton, NJ/Pope John XXIII).
Also returning for the Hawks at the guard position is junior Anthony Keane (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell). Keane led ’Wick in assists and steals a year ago. He scored a career-high 19 points against Nazareth and hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Ithaca 78-75. He will be counted on to provide great defense and athleticism as a swing player.
“When Anthony plays his best, he is the best player on the floor,” McGuinness stated. Depth will come from junior Rob Heller (Binghamton, NY/Chenango Valley) and sophomore Matt Pettruccione (Saratoga Springs, NY/Bishop Maginn).
At the other forward position is junior transfer Kyle Bradley (Cornwall, NY/Mansfield University) who comes to Hartwick from Division II Mansfield and will be counted on to play right away. “Kyle is a good player and a very good teammate that passes the ball very well,” McGuinness added.
Battling for minutes in the paint will be seniors Aaron Laing (Laurens, NY/Laurens) and Jon Zehe (Erie, PA/Fairview). “Aaron and Jon have been with me from the beginning and they have both grown as players and men,” McGuinness noted.
Senior Travis Godley (Putnam, CT/Putnam Science Academy) and junior Vic Angeline (East Brunswick, NJ/Rutgers Prep) will be counted on for leadership and making shots off the bench.
Providing depth off the bench will be sophomores Pete Melanson (Little Compton, RI/Bishop Staing), Ken Johnson, Jr. (Williamstown, NJ/Gloucester County Tech), Brandon Griffin (Suffern, NY/Don Bosco Prep), and junior Steven Donovan (Franklin, MA/Tri-County Vocational).
The Hawks begin the season on the road against SUNY Purchase this Friday in the Regis College Tip-Off Tournament. Hartwick will play five of its first nine games at Lambros Arena. ’Wick will host Union in its home opener on November 20 followed by Wells on November 25.
Hartwick will face rival Oneonta State on November 28 followed by home games with Keuka (11/30) and Morrisville (12/1). The Hawks Empire 8 Conference opener will be on December 4 against Utica College.
The Hawks will then travel to play Elms and wrap up the first half of the season with defending Liberty League champion Hobart on December 30. This year’s schedule will feature three teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season.