(Canton, N.Y.)- The SUNY Canton men’s basketball team kicks off their 2012-13 season Nov. 16-17 at the Mount Saint Vincent Tournament in Riverdale, N.Y.
The Roos will be led this season by first-year head coach Jim Bechtel, who was an assistant coach at St. Lawrence University the past two seasons. Bechtel inherits a squad with four talented returning players along with a crop of solid newcomers that will compete for the first year as an NCAA Division III team. But this year’s team lacks one thing which will define the Roos style of play.
“We definitely lack some size so we’ll be a very up tempo style of team offensively,” said Bechtel. “Defensively we’ll get out and pressure teams, get in passing lanes and try to keep the pace at a level that we feel we can be successful at.”
Bechtel is looking toward a quartet of returning guards to guide the young Roos this winter in senior Ryan Lamica (Constable, N.Y.), juniors Khalid Vaughn (New York, N.Y.) and Scott Dixon (Brooklyn, N.Y.), and sophomore Tyler Ellison (New York, N.Y.). Lamica, who averaged 7.2 points and led the Roos in assists (95) and steals (50) as a junior, is a very level-headed, crafty point guard with a great deal of basketball knowledge. Vaughn is an explosive guard who the Roos will lean on to provide a lot of offense, whether it’s scoring or breaking down defenses to create opportunities for other players. Vaughn was third on the team in scoring last year averaging 11.7 points along with 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Dixon was second on the team in assists (54) and averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds and is another player similar to Lamica that will be a calming influence for the Roos during games. Dixon is also an outstanding defender who had 31 steals and 14 blocks as a junior. Ellison, similar to Vaughn will be called on to provide offensive scoring and be a defensive presence.
Sophomore forward Tyler Thomas (Canton, N.Y.) also returns for the Roos after joining the team in the second half of last season and is a good outside shooter and will provide depth behind the arc.
Bechtel points out three newcomers who he’s expecting to make an immediate impact: sophomore forwards Xavier Fisher (Plymouth, Pa.) and Richard McBride (Bronx, N.Y.) and freshman forward Michael Pulci (Staten Island, N.Y.). Fisher and McBride will be the Roos primary inside players and will be asked to battle the post, be good rebounders and keep the offense going through ball reversals and screens. The two have accepted the new challenge, roles and positions they normally have not played. Pulci will be another solid outside shooter for SUNY Canton.
“Our goals for this year are to do the things we can do every night,” Bechtel said. “We want to execute our offense and continue to build the culture we’re trying to build moving forward. I want everyone to put out a 40-minute effort each and every night and step up when your name is called. “
The Roos open their season against Mount Saint Vincent on Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and the consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2 and 3 p.m.