Men’s basketball primed for breakout year

The Geneseo men's basketball team opens the 2011-12 season on Nov. 15 against Medaille College. After a disappointing 11-14 (5-13) record in the 2010-11 season, head coach Steve Minton is looking forward to starting anew, after only graduating two seniors and bringing in a talented freshman crop.

Although the team only lost graduates Nate Cornish and Mike Baker, their contributions were unquantifiable.

"In terms of leadership and intangibles, [Cornish] and [Baker] will be difficult to replace," said Minton. "But that's just the way college basketball goes. And our seniors this year have stepped up to fill that role."

Minton expects this year's Knights to compete on a level that they haven't reached in the past, and the preparation started in the offseason.

"I've been extremely pleased with how hard they're working. We're a lot deeper this year than in years past, and the guys are buying into the idea that, ‘I'll come in for four, five, seven minutes … and there won't be any drop-off when the next group of guys come in.'"

That added depth should be huge for Geneseo's versatility, and they now have the ability to create difficult matchups for any opponent they face.

"One thing you might see us use more is our size that we picked up in the offseason. We graduated [players that were] 5'10" and 5'11", and brought in [players that are] 6'4", 6'4", 6'5", 6'6"" remarks Minton. That added size allows Geneseo to be more creative in their defensive schemes, and offensively.

"We might be shooting more three-point shots," said Minton.

When talking about goals for the season, Minton said he isn't preoccupied with winning games or conference titles. That isn't to say he doesn't think those things will come, but Minton is more focused on becoming a better basketball team.

"We want to be better than last year … We need one week to be better than the week before," he explained.

The Knights fared well in their first chance at competition. On Nov. 5, Geneseo hosted Queens University (Ontario) in an exhibition game and won 61-44. But according to coach Minton, the Queens match-up has not been their priority in the offseason.

"[Medaille is who we are] putting the majority of our focus on," said Minton. "We've had some good games with them in the past, with each team winning on their home court the last three years."

This year, the game will be played at Medaille, where Geneseo is looking to buck that trend.