YORK, PA -The 2010-2011 edition of the York College men's basketball team looks unlike any other in the history of the program. First, the 23-man roster is the largest in program history. Second is the wealth of talent that lines the large roster.
Spartan head coach Jeff Gamber has brought in a large and talented recruiting class to team with his deep returning group of players to form a team that should have the ability to compete for the upper echelon of the Capital Athletic Conference.
Gamber's returners include seniors Kevin Whaley, Dylan Hoffman, and Matt Moley, juniors Andrew Pawlyk and Paul Kouvaris, and sophomores Jeremy Skoloda, Julian Watson, Todd Maciejewski, Mitch Kemp, Chad Styer, Mo Oursler, Max Resnick, Jake Markle, and Barry Holmes.
Whaley headlines the returners as he was an All-CAC selection last year. He finished the year averaging 16 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He shot 48.2% from the floor, 43% from three, and 81.3% from the free throw line. Whaley is a big, athletic guard that did a large percentage of the ball handling last year. He can shoot it from deep while he also does a great job of getting to hoop for tough baskets.
"Kevin had a great year for us last year and I expect him to be even better this year," says Gamber. "He is a hard worker and a good leader for this team."
Hoffman is one of the best athletes on the team as he averaged 5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game as a junior. Hoffman can handle the ball while he is also one of the Spartans' best one-on-one defenders.
"Dylan is an experienced player that will be a key part of our rotation," says Gamber. "He knows what we expect and provides us with a number of different positive qualities."
Moley was key player off the bench last year as he averaged 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He also had almost double of the assists against turnovers. Moley is a player that is extremely versatile as he can play against bigger, stronger players or smaller, quicker players. He is a gifted athlete that gives York the ability to match up against various lineups.
"Matt is a very good athlete that has worked hard to be a good basketball player," says Gamber. "He is a versatile player that does a number of good things for us on the floor."
Pawlyk returns to the Spartan lineup after missing last year due to injury. He has worked diligently to get back and comes back as an improved player. He has become a very consistent shooter while he is also stronger. Pawlyk will give the Spartans much needed depth in the post. He is a good defender and will be a dangerous player on offense.
"Andrew is a good leader for us and we are happy to have him back. His experience and presence should help us in the post this year," says Gamber.
Kouvaris begins his junior year coming off a highly successful sophomore year that saw him average 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He shot 52.2% from the floor and 72.5% from the stripe. Kouvaris comes back a stronger, more complete player as he has the ability to be an all-conference caliber forward for the Green and White.
"Paul continues to develop as a player and he has been very good during the preseason," says Gamber. "He is a tough match up for opponents."
Skoloda has made a dramatic jump after a freshman year that saw him average 8.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. He has worked very hard in the weight room to become stronger and make himself into a more complete player. Skoloda is a good scorer that played in all 26 games last year. He drained 33 three-pointers while he converted 73.3% of his free throw attempts.
"Jeremy is a good player that has improved himself," says Gamber. "He is a good shooter that has added the ability to get to the basket while he is also improved defensively."
Watson returns to the Spartans after he was named the 2008-09 CAC Rookie-of-the-Year. He averaged 11.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during his freshman year. He shot 46.4% from the floor, 35.9% from three and 71.3% from the free throw line. Watson has improved since his freshman year as he is stronger, quicker and a more accurate shooter for his sophomore year.
"Julian was good as a freshman but he is better now," states Gamber. "He shoots it better, handles it better and I expect him to be a good defensive player."
Maciejewski enters his sophomore year looking to rebound from an injury-shortened freshman campaign. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. He broke his foot and hampered the Spartans' interior depth in the second half of the season. Maciejewski is a rugged and physical player that has soft hands and is an outstanding interior passer.
"When Todd got hurt last year, that really hurt our play in the post," says Gamber. "Todd is a physical player that has a knack for making good plays."
Kemp saw action in 25 games last year as he is a physical player that is trying to crack the Spartan rotation. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. Styer is another guard fighting for playing time as the talented sophomore played in 18 games as a freshman. Ousler, Resnick, Markle and Holmes each played limited minutes as freshmen but have all improved as they compete for floor time.
Gamber's eight player recruiting class is talented and deep. The Spartan mentor likes his newcomers but isn't sure how those new players will fit into the rotation.
"This is a good class but it's too early to tell who will step up and be a part of the rotation," says Gamber. "We have so many good returners, they will really have to play well to step into a regular spot and they must perform when they do."
Gamber likes the potential of his team this year.
"I think we can be a very good team," says Gamber. "We have a lot to work on before we get there. We need to be better defensively and need to continue to improve each day in practice."
The Spartans open the season on Monday, November 15 when they host Lebanon Valley College. Tip time at Wolf Gymnasium is set for 8:00 pm.