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Bill Ziskin

2017-18 UAlbany Men's Basketball Outlook

UAlbany Sports Information   11-07-2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – Last season, the UAlbany men’s basketball team made their fourth America East title game appearance in five seasons and sixth consecutive postseason tournament.  In 2017-18, the Great Danes look to return to the top of the America East mountain.

UAlbany finished 21-14 overall, tying for third place in the America East with a 10-6 league tally.  The Great Danes defeated 6-seed Hartford and 2-seed Stony Brook en route to the America East Championship, narrowly falling at 1-seed Vermont 56-53.  UAlbany, which had defeated Power Five opponent Penn State, earned a berth into the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, falling to eventual tournament champion Saint Peter’s.

Head coach Will Brown returns for his 17th season at the helm.  Under his leadership, the Great Danes have won five America East Tournament titles and earned winning records in America East play each of the past seven seasons and 10 of the last 12 years.  Brown earned his 250th victory as head coach on January 19th, 2017. 

UAlbany returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad, including the team’s top five scorers, two all-conference players and a member of the America East All-Defensive Team, plus adds six newcomers to the campaign.  The Great Danes are predicted to finish second in the America East in the preseason coaches poll.

UAlbany will have four team captains for the 2017-18 season: seniors Greig Stire and Travis Charles and juniors David Nichols and Joe Cremo.

UAlbany basketball single game tickets are now on sale for the 2017-18 season. To purchase, contact the UAlbany Ticket office at 518-442-DANE or visit ualbanysports.com/tickets.  The season will open on Friday, November 10th at 7 p.m. against MAAC champion Iona.

BACKCOURT

UAlbany’s top two scorers from last season reside in the backcourt, leading the unit this year.  Junior David Nichols earned America East All-Conference First Team honors, the youngest UAlbany player to earn such an honor, after finishing in the top-10 in the America East with 17.9 points, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, also being named the league’s Scholar-Athlete for Men’s Basketball.

Junior Joe Cremo also earned America East All-Conference honors, being placed on the second team.  The 2015-16 America East Rookie of the Year finished last year ranked in the league’s top-10 with 15.8 points, 3.8 assists and 35.5 minutes per game and an 86.9% free throw percentage.

A primary reserve and three-point specialist, senior Costa Anderson played in 28 contests last season, shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc with 2.3 points per game, including a buzzer beater in the first half in the America East semifinal victory at Stony Brook.

Xavier Cochran sit out last year and stands as a redshirt sophomore.  The former First Team All-Region XII player averaged 16 points per game in 2015-16 at Owens Community College.

Also returning is sophomore guard Nick Fruscio.  The former Albany Academy standout and two-time state champion played in eight games as a reserve last season.

Two newcomers join the backcourt this season.  Former St. Petersburg College and DeMatha standout Ahmad Clark joins on sophomore standing, leading the former school to the Florida State Region 8 championship with 16.5 points a game. 

From Sydney, Australia comes freshman Cameron Healy, a U16 NSW Metro Team member that helped Montverde Academy in Florida to a national championship game.

FRONTCOURT

In the paint for UAlbany will be a mix of returners and newcomers.  Senior Greig Stire has started at forward the last two seasons, finishing eighth in the America East with six rebounds a game, shooting 56.3% from the field for 7.1 points per game.

Travis Charles graduated from UAlbany this past summer and will play his final season with the Great Danes this year.  The top scorer off the bench last year, Charles shot 61.3% from the field, finishing with 7.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Breaking into the starting lineup mid-year, Devonte Campbell earned a place on the America East All-Defensive Team last season.  The junior played in 26 games with 16 starts, shooting 46.7% for seven points and 4.8 rebounds a contest.

Joining the team for his final year of eligibility is Alex Foster, who graduated from Bradley University this past summer.  The former all-state player from Illinois previously played a combined 67 games between Bradley and Texas Tech.

Matt Conway was a Second Team All-Region 18 player at Salt Lake Community College with 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game last year.  The sophomore was an all-state player at Pleasant Grove in Utah.

Freshman Brent Hank is the tallest player at the team at 6-foot-10.  The freshman and Port Lincoln, Australia native averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds per game in his final year at Trinity College (H.S.), being named an All-Star 5.

Also a freshman from Australia, Sydney-native Adam Lulka was a 2016 Australian All-Schools selection with 24 points and 10 boards a contest, taking the King’s School to a national title.

COACHING STAFF

Brown returns his primary three assistants for this season.  Jon Iati was promoted to associate head coach this year in his sixth season with the team.  Assistant coaches Josh Pelletier and Jerrad Knotts also return in their same role for the Great Danes, along with Don Bassett, the special assistant to the head coach.

The team has two new members of the staff for 2017-18.  David Steckel comes to UAlbany as the director of basketball operations after serving the same role at Duquesne.  Ty Conyers, a graduate of UAlbany in 2014, returns to his alma mater as the video coordinator after being at Queens College.

SCHEDULE

UAlbany begins its season with a battle against the two-time reigning MAAC champion Iona at the SEFCU Arena on Friday, November 10th.  This is the first meeting between the two programs since 2010. 

The team hits the road for its next game at Boston University, a former America East rival, on Monday, November 13th, the first meeting since 2015. 

UAlbany returns home for two games, starting with James Jones’s Yale team on Friday, November 17th.  It is the fifth straight year these two will meet.  Then on Monday, November 20th, UAlbany hosts Oneonta, the SUNYAC runner-up last season, for the third year running. 

The next three games will be on the road for the Great Danes, beginning with a Thanksgiving Eve matchup at Dartmouth on Wednesday, November 22nd, the first meeting since 2011.  UAlbany and Holy Cross will meet for the fifth straight year on Saturday, November 25th in Worcester, Massachusetts, then on Monday, November 27th, the Great Danes head to New Jersey to take on Monmouth, the two-time defending MAAC regular season champion, for the first time since 2011. 

The Purple & Gold comes back to the Capital District for its next four games, starting with three contests at home.  Two New York opponents arrive on campus to begin, starting with Colgate on Wednesday, November 29th, an annual matchup since 2010, then following with Columbia on Saturday, December 2nd for the second year in a row in the series.

The final game of the three-game homestand will kick off UAlbany’s participation in the Gotham Classic.  UAlbany hosts Bryant on Wednesday, December 6th, taking on the Bulldogs for the first time since 2008.

On Saturday, December 9th, the Great Danes will take on Siena in the annual Albany Cup battle in the Times Union Center as part of the Gotham Classic.  UAlbany currently holds the Albany Cup, taking back the trophy last season with an 81-72 victory in the SEFCU Arena.

UAlbany continues in the Gotham Classic with a road trip to Memphis on Tuesday, December 12th.  It is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.

The squad comes back to SEFCU to take on Canisius to for its second matchup in as many seasons on Saturday, December 16th.

Before the holidays, UAlbany will board a flight to Kentucky to take on Louisville, an at-large into the NCAA Tournament last season, on Wednesday, December 20th.  UAlbany and Louisville will play for the first time.

UAlbany wraps up non-conference play by taking on Rob Senderoff’s Kent State Golden Flashes on Thursday, December 28th at the SEFCU Arena.  These two programs have their first-ever meeting.

UAlbany’s conference slate begins with a home game against Hartford, a rematch of the America East quarterfinal round, on Wednesday, January 3rd.  The Great Danes hit the road that weekend for the first league road game at New Hampshire on Saturday, January 6th.

The next week, UAlbany hosts rival Stony Brook on Wednesday, January 10th in the SEFCU Arena.  The following two games are on the road as the team plays at Maine on Saturday, January 13th and at Binghamton on Monday, January 15th.

SEFCU Arena will play host to the next two conference games as UAlbany takes on UMass Lowell on Thursday, January 18th and UMBC on Sunday, January 21st.

The following two games are on the road, starting with a rematch of the America East title game at Vermont on Wednesday, January 24th.  With the second half of league play beginning for the next game, UAlbany heads to Long Island, the site of its America East semifinal win over the Seawolves, to take on Stony Brook on Saturday, January 27th.

UAlbany will have a full week before its next two games, both at home.  UAlbany hosts New Hampshire on Saturday, February 3rd, then Vermont on Thursday, February 8th.

The Great Danes will play its next and final three road games in America East competition: at Hartford on Sunday, February 11th, at UMass Lowell on Thursday, February 15th and at UMBC on Sunday, February 18th.

UAlbany hosts two opponents to complete the America East regular season, battling Maine on Saturday, February 24th and Binghamton on Tuesday, February 27th. 

The 2018 America East Tournament will have each game hosted by the higher seeds in each contest.  The quarterfinals will be on Saturday, March 3rd followed by the semifinals on Tuesday, March 6th and the title game on Saturday, March 10th.



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