Basketball teams anticipate strong seasons

The 2007-2008 season looks to be promising for both the men's and women's basketball teams. The men's team is coming off of a 15-11 record last season.

Coach Steve Minton begins his eighth season as the Geneseo men's head coach and is trying to lead them to a SUNYAC championship. The Knights are led by junior Scott Morton, a second team All-SUNYAC selection last season and SUNYAC rookie of the year in 2005-06. Morton led the Knights in scoring last year with 13.5 points.

Senior starters Tarik Kitson and Joe Kling return as well and will add veteran leadership to the squad. Junior Jeff Howe looks to get the fourth starting spot with the fifth to be a rotating starter.

Many other players will receive significant starting time this year, with senior Manuel Karam and sophomore Brandon Simpson in line for heavy minutes. Karam would add shooting range to the starting lineup and Simpson would provide height and rebounding ability.

The backcourt looks to be very deep with junior John Papincak, sophomore Jordan Blair, and prototypical first-year point guard Mike Baker. Freshman Freddie Dorgler and sophomore Nate Cornish will also add young talent and depth to the team.

Despite the high turnover rate affecting this year's team, Karam is optimistic about the season's outlook. "We have a lot of guys that are ready to step up," he said. "Even though we lost five seniors we still have a lot of veteran leadership on this team, and we're very good defensively."

The Knights start their season on Nov. 17 at the NYU tournament where they face Rensselaer and play their home opener Nov. 27 at St. John Fisher at 8 p.m.

The women's team looks just as strong under first-year coach Scott Hemer. Hemer led the Genesee Community College Cougars to a record of 147-40 over six seasons before taking the job here at Geneseo.

He hopes to build upon last year's 14-12 record behind a strong senior class that will be aiming to bring the Lady Knight's to the next level. 2006 Kodak Honorable Mention All-American Annie Verdino, a senior, leads the Lady Knights after earning first team All-SUNYAC and Rochester Area College Athletics Player of the Year honors in 2007.

Seniors Amanda Haney, Lydia Reed and Merrissa Wilson all contribute veteran leadership and ability on the court and look to secure starting spots again this season.

Hemer also expects immediate contributions from two GCC transfer students, sophomore Khadija Campbell and junior Tracy Wangelin, who he coached last year. Juniors Jamie Scordino and Amanda Bihr will share the point guard duties this season.

"We are trying to improve most of the little things," Hemer said of his team's outlook to begin the campaign. "This season is a marathon, not a sprint. We are going to try to continuously improve over the next few months so that we will be in full stride come tournament time in February. We are hoping to secure one of the top two seeds."

The Lady Knights kick off the regular season against Gwynedd Mercy in Marymount on Friday, Nov. 16.