Men's Basketball Season Preview
CHESTERTOWN, MD -- This is it. In the program's 100th season of competition, eight Washington College men's basketball seniors will get their final chance at an elusive Centennial Conference Championship. As sophomores, the class of 2012 reached the Centennial Confrence semifinals, but injuries and a 1-6 record in games decided by five points or fewer hampered a 2010-11 season that saw the Shoremen finish with a 7-18 record.
Do-it-all guard and 2011 All-Centennial Conference first-team selection Kevin Breslin (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti) headlines the Shoremen's large senior class. Breslin averaged 18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game last season - all team bests. He also surpassed 1,000 career points as a junior and enters his senior year with 1,039 career points. Breslin was the lone Shoreman to start all 25 games during the 2010-11 season.
Sharp-shooting senior guard Sal Schittino (Ellicott City, MD/Loyola Blakefield) finished second on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game in 2010-11, shooting 35.2% from three-point range and 93.5% from the free-throw line while starting three games. Senior forwards Adam Naymick (Hanover, PA/Delone Catholic) (7.4 points, 4.2 rebounds per game and 20 starts in 2010-11) and Chris Olsen (Ellicott City, MD/Mount St. Joseph) (7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds per game and 13 starts) are the team's most experienced frontcourt players, while senior guard Mark DeBoy (Baltimore, MD/Mount St. Joseph) (3.6 points per game) has been a fixture in the backcourt roation each of the past two seasons.
Rounding out the senior class are reserve guards Ryan Kearney (Glenolden, PA/Haverford School) and James Hetzel (Fallston, MD/John Carroll) and reserve center Max Finch (Medford, NJ/Shawnee). Kearney is serving as one of the team's three captains along with Breslin and Naymick.
Junior forwards Charlie McShane (West Deptford, NJ/West Deptford) and Tony Hawkins (Mt. Ephraim, NJ/Haddon Township) became rotation players as sophomores with McShane making 16 starts and Hawikins eight. McShane averaged 7.0 points per game, while Hawkins added 3.1.
Washington's lone sophomore is forward Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape), who averaged 3.1 points per game and made six starts as a freshman.
The Shoremen will get a boost from a freshman class numbering half a dozen, an unusually high number for a team with eight seniors. Guards Sean Brooks (North Wales, PA/North Penn), Sean Flanigan (Wilmington, DE/St. Mark's), Jamal McLean (Falls Church, VA/Blue Ridge School), and John Weston (Atlanta, GA/Bolles School [FL]) join the backcourt, while forwards Mark Henry (Spring City, PA/Owen J. Roberts) and Kyle Pagan (Lansdale, PA/Lansdale Catholic) provide frontcourt help. Brooks and Henry are already quite familiar with the Centennial Conference; Brooks's brother Derek plays for Gettysburg, while Mark's brother Kevin plays for Franklin & Marshall.
Head coach Rob Nugent returns for his 11th season as head coach of the Shoremen. Joining him on the sidelines is second-year assistant Robert Hughes.
Washington's calling cards this season will no doubt once again be an up-tempo offense and a pressuring man-to-man defense. The Shoremen finished second in the Centennial Conference in steals, turnover margin, and assist-to-turnover ratio last season and led the league in assists. Washington will look to improve on the glass as the Shoremen finished last in the conference in rebounding margin a year ago at -8.7 per game.
Expect the Shoremen to also play a deep rotation once again. Breslin averaged a team-high 33.5 minutes per game last season and graduated point guard Dylan Bernstein averaged 27.4, but nine other Shoremen averaged between 10.7 and 22.1 minutes per game.
The Shoremen finished 5-6 at home, including 5-4 in home conference games, last season, but went just 1-11 in road games, including a 1-8 mark in conference, a step back from their 6-5 road record in 2009-10. Winning at home and staying competitive on the road will be key to Washington's success this season.
Washington will once again open the season with the Pride of Maryland Championship, hosting two-time defending Capital Athletic Conference Champion St. Mary's College in the first round of the tournament on November 15th. St. Mary's will open the season ranked 15th in all of Division III by D3Hoops.com. The tournament then shifts to Baltimore for the final two rounds, hosted by Goucher and Johns Hopkins, November 18th and 19th.
The Shoremen open both their home and Centennial Conference schedules November 22nd against two-time defending Centennial Champion Franklin & Marshall. F&M is ranked 17th in the nation by D3Hoops.com.