The York College men’s basketball team enters the 2009-10 campaign with a strong core of returning players in addition to a group of newcomers that bring great potential to the Spartan program.
Head Coach Jeff Gamber enters his 33rd season at the helm of the program and 41st season in collegiate coaching looking to guide the Spartans back into the upper echelon of the Capital Athletic Conference. The Spartans suffered through a building season as they finished sixth in the CAC. However, a number of key players who earned significant experience last year, return, giving the Spartans a strong nucleus of seasoned players.
“We have good experience returning and all those players have improved,” states Gamber.
Gamber welcomes back a pair of seniors in All-CAC guard Nick Brady and forward Jeremy Keefer. The duo gives Gamber strong on and off the floor leadership. Also returning for the Spartans are juniors Andrew Pawlyk and Dylan Hoffman, sophomores Paul Kouvaris and Matt Moley. All six returners saw significant floor time last year and bring savvy and talent to the Spartan squad.
Brady returns as the Spartans’ lone All-CAC selection from last year. He is a big, strong guard with the ability to score while he has worked very hard on being a good rebounder and defender. Brady led the Spartans in scoring and rebounding last year, averaging 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. He is a strong leader that will serve as a Spartan captain during his final year in the Green and wWhite.
“Nick is a strong worker and a good leader for us,” states Gamber. “He has continued to become a better player and we expect him to be good for us this season.”
Keefer is York’s other senior and will team with Brady and Pawlyk to be a Spartan captain. In Keefer’s first year as a starter last year, he averaged 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He is a big wing with the ability to play on the perimeter or in the paint. Keefer is another one of the Spartans’ hard workers that has dedicated himself to working in the weight room and on the court as his game should be in great shape for his final year in the green and white.
“I think we are going to see very good things from Jeremy this year,” says Gamber. “We need him to be strong on the boards and to be a good defensive player. He should also be an important part of what we are doing offensively.”
Pawlyk returns to the squad coming off a sophomore year that saw him establish himself as an important part of the Spartan front court rotation. Pawlyk averaged 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as he shot 50% from the floor. However, those numbers really understate how well he played last year. He averaged just over 10 points per game in his final four games and the coaching staff believes he can be an important part of the rotation this season.
“Andrew has worked extremely hard in all aspects of his game,” comments Gamber. “He has worked on his strength and his game. He has made himself into a good post player for us.”
Hoffman is another member of the junior class that returners to the Spartans. Hoffman is a gifted athlete that has shown flashes of brilliance during his career. He concluded last year averaging 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest. He had some big games last season including road wins at Hood and Gallaudet where he provided the Spartans’ a huge lift in victory. Hoffman can handle the ball; shoot the ball from the perimeter and the mid-range while also having the ability to be a good on-the-ball defender.
“Dylan will be an important part of our rotation this year,” says Gamber. “He is a great athlete who is still learning how to be a great basketball player.”
Kouvaris returns for his sophomore year with high expectations after a freshman year that saw him average 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He is a highly athletic wing player that does a nice job of getting up and down the floor and playing the way the Spartans want to. He shot almost 49% from the floor and has the ability to do a number of different things offensively. He has a nice mid-range game while he can also get to the rim. He is also a good rebounder that the coaching staff expects to improve with added strength.
“Paul has the potential to be an outstanding wing player in our league. He is very athletic but also highly skilled. We will need him to be a solid contributor this year,” says Gamber.
Moley had a good freshman year as he became a key player off the bench for the Green and White. Moley averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last year as he saw action on 23 games. He brings a high level of athleticism and determination to be a good defender and rebounder. Moley also has a solid offensive game and is a consistent shooter from 16-feet and in.
“Matt did a nice job last year and he will continue to improve and become a better player. He is a good athlete that gives us versatility,” states the Spartan coach.
Gamber is excited about his class of newcomers. The Spartans welcome in 10 new players to the squad and a number of those players will have the opportunity to make an impact on this year’s edition of the Spartans.
“I like our new players,” states Gamber. “They have potential to be a real good group.”
Four freshmen that will have a chance to make an impact early on in their careers include guards Jeremy Skoloda and Mitch Kemp along with wings Chad Styer and Todd Maciejewski. All four of these players come from winning high school programs, something that helps with their transition to the collegiate game. Skoloda is a scorer that has the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter while he also has the athletic ability to be a good defender. Kemp is another good shooter that has a great understanding of the game and someone who has worked hard to impress the coaching staff early in practice. Styer is an athletic and skilled wing player that does many of the little things well. He is a good shooter that can also handle the ball and defend. Maciejewski is a strong and versatile athlete that brings a physical presence to the paint for York. He is a rugged rebounder and defender that has no problem finishing around the basket.
The class includes a pair of transfers in senior Wid Lyman and junior Kevin Whaley. Lyman gives York good depth at point guard as he brings a maturity and experience to the Spartan lineup. Whaley comes to York after playing two years at Division II Chestnut Hill. He is a player that brings a high skill level at the guard position. Whaley is a creative player that sees the court well and can set up for other players. He also can shoot the ball at a high percentage from the perimeter.
Mo Oursler, Barry Holmes, Max Resnick, and Jake Markle compose the rest of the class. Oursler is a great shooting guard with a good understanding of the game. Holmes is an athletic guard that has a solid handle and is a good on-the-ball defender. Resnick is an athletic wing player with steady skills and a good deal of potential. Markle is the tallest member of the newcomers at 6’9”. He has a soft touch in the mid-range and works very hard for the Spartans.
“I think this is a class that can have a great deal of success over the course of their four years,” says Gamber. “There will be some of them that get opportunities earlier than others but I am looking forward to seeing how they can perform.”
Gamber believes that there are many things that need to occur before the Spartans can be the type of team that they want to be.
“We need to commit to defending all over the floor, to being a better rebounding team and to playing together every day. If we can accomplish some of those things, we will have a very good year.”
The Spartans open their campaign on November 15 and 16 as they host the White Rose City Classic in York.