Men’s basketball begins season with victory

College basketball fans can finally relax knowing that they are about to get their fix of hoops, as the Geneseo men’s basketball team prepares to hit the hardwood. After implementing a new, high-paced offense for the 2015-16 season, the Knights played to a record of 17-9 in a season that led them to the SUNYAC Tournament. This year, however, head coach Steve Minton looks to improve on last season’s performance and to push the team even further. Fans looking forward to watching the Knights can count on a fast-paced run and gun offense.

“We try to play fast; we are going to get down the court in a hurry,” Minton said.

Minton has developed his team’s offense with an emphasis on obtaining easy fast-break layups, using the three-point line to their advantage and getting to the free-throw line. It is a highly efficient offensive plan that should look familiar to fans of the NBA, where most teams focus on getting baskets from beyond the three-point line or right at the rim.

On the defensive side of the court, Minton is looking to have his opponents take contested shots outside of the paint by interfering with the opponent’s ball movement and forcing low-percentage shots off the dribble.

Having his defense push the ball to one side of the court and close off passes is a great way to either force bad shots or turnovers, which will allow the Knights to get out in transition and force the opposition to play at their pace.

Minton has instilled this style of basketball in every player on the team, from his seniors to his freshman. As expected, all of the Knights’ seniors are vital parts of the team. Senior guards Justin Ringen and John Decker are incandescent scorers who averaged 21.7 and 18.8 points per game, respectively, last season.

“Either are capable of leading the conference in scoring,” Minton said.

Senior guard Jack Eisenberg is also a player that allows the offense to flow and senior guard Jonathan Cohen is one of the shooters that the Knights look to feed.

The juniors have also established themselves in important roles for the team. Junior guard Charlie Zaepfel has proven to be an excellent playmaker, along with junior guard Connor Murphy, who hustles in order to earn the team extra possessions. Junior guard Kevin Crockett is another shooter that punishes teams that leave him open on the three-point line. Additionally, junior forward Jordi Menkhorst will be one of the players that will be operating out of the post, in the space that the excellent shooting of the team provides.

The sophomores will begin seeing expanded roles on the team and will enjoy the opportunity to establish themselves this season. Sophomore guard CJ Burke saw his role expand throughout the season last year as a freshman and should continue to impress this season. Sophomore forward Sean Avery and sophomore center Chris McVeety offer well-rounded games and continue to develop, which will allow them to be utilized in a variety of game situations—especially as the season progresses. Sophomore forward Jack Manke is another post player with a skillset that should develop in the pace-and-space offense.

There are also four freshmen that have the opportunity to develop into promising talents within the culture and flow of the team. Freshman guard Terence Rogers will learn how Minton wants his point guards to run the offense from Eisenberg and Zaepfel; freshmen guards Terrance Nichols and Tommy Eastman will also look to translate the skills that earned them all-state recognition before coming to Geneseo.

Minton has a lot of respect for his players and their abilities; he plans to continue the success that the program has had.