Despite not being fully healthy, the Men’s Basketball team has started off their 2010 campaign with a 4-3 start before breaking until January.
The Hawks, who went 11-15 overall last season, are hoping to continue to improve and land a spot in the SUNYAC Championship Tournament in February.
“I think we have shown that we can be a championship caliber team,” Head Coach Dagan Nelson said. “We won that Hamilton Tournament to start the season … we have done some good things.”
With the team’s three wins in the beginning of the season, it marked the first 3-0 start since 1993 and the first tournament win since the 1998-99 season.
After starting off strong, the team lost three straight games to Keene State College, SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam in late November and early December.
After a 72-39 win against Vassar College on Tuesday, the team snapped their losing streak and ended the first stretch of their season on a high note heading into winter break.
“We started off pretty strong, but … we came back strong yesterday and we have to pick it up in the conference next semester,” second-year captain Nick Taldi said.
In order to gain more wins in the second part of their season, both Taldi and Nelson believe the team needs to improve on the team’s defense.
Taldi said that offensive execution is the teams biggest strength, but said the team needs to become better defensively.
Nelson said that the team is able to score, and is averaging around 80 points per game, but in order to take the team to the next level, the team has to improve the defense and not allow other teams to score points.
Another aspect Nelson hopes to improve heading forward is the team’s consistency.
“We talk about consistency everyday, we don’t focus on winning or losing, but getting better,” Nelson said. “We tell our players to live in the moment and be the best they can that day of practice to build good habits that will lead you into successful situations.”
Nelson said that in order to improve the team needs to mature – which will lead to consistency.
Despite the obstacles the team has faced, Nelson said that in his sixteen years of coaching that the current Hawks squad is one of the closest in terms of chemistry – something he believes is integral to a championship team.
Among some of the players Nelson believes have stood out include second-year captain Matt Devine, third-year captain Harris Wichard, second-year captain Nick Taldi and third-year Shereef Taylor.
Nelson said that he expects the team to be fully able and able to compete when the team opens it’s season again on Jan. 5 against Montclair State University and looks forward to seeing what the Hawks will be able to do.
“We have to win some games,” Nelson said. “We have to be mentally tough, and improve defensively. We are going to make some strides.”