Coming off of a 17-10 season, the men’s basketball team is looking strong. Four out of five starters return, and the team only lost two seniors to graduation. “We’re pretty balanced,” head coach Steve Minton said. “I think that we’re pretty deep, and I think that the depth, in particularly at the guard spots, will play in our favor.”
That depth will be important, even in the early part of the season. The Knights have six games before the end of the semester, including the Wendy’s College Classic in Rochester.
“If we meet [our] standards … we’ll find ourselves in a position to be SUNYAC champions,” Minton said. “I would think and hope and expect us to be one of the better teams in the conference this year because of our returning guys, our experience and the skill set that each guy brings.”
Minton’s expectations are well based. Against eventual SUNYAC champion SUNY Cortland in the 2012-2013 season, the Knights went 1-1 in two very closely fought games. That experience will play a key role this season.
“The experience of winning a quarterfinal game in the SUNYAC tournament and getting to the semifinals two years in a row sets a tone for [this team] to recognize the importance of every game and the importance of every little part of the season,” Minton added.
One of the Knights’ goals will be to replace the experience and the leadership of Ryan Riefenhauser ‘13, who started every game for Geneseo the past three seasons. Although Riefenhauser did not put up record-setting numbers, with 9.1 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game in his senior season, his leadership on and off the court is something that really stood out.
“[Riefenhauser] is one of the best leaders I’ve ever coached,” Minton said. “We have had some seniors step up. [Seniors] Connor Fedge and Thomas Decker have done an outstanding job.”
As the captains this year, Fedge and Decker will try to take over that leadership role along with the two other seniors on the roster, Jordan Jones and Matt Curry.
Despite losing Riefenhauser, Minton knows the current seniors are ready to take on this season and lead the team to a SUNYAC title.
“[We need to] put ourselves in a position to just win three games in a row at the end of the season when the tournament comes around,” Minton said. “I certainly think that we can do that.”