The St. Lawrence University men's basketball team, ranked second in the Liberty League preseason Coaches' poll, will look to continue its success as it seeks its twelfth postseason appearance under the direction of Coach Chris Downs (14th year).
The Scarlet and Brown, who went 11-4 in the conference (16-12 overall) en route to a Liberty League Tournament Title and NCAA first round appearance last season, lost two starters in Andy Hoercher and Josh Sharlow, the team's second and fourth leading scorers, respectively. Despite the loss, Coach Downs said this year's squad shows great promise and that he is eager to start the 2010-11 campaign.
"The guys have been working extremely hard this preseason," said Coach Downs. "They have shown a strong work ethic, have taken criticism well, and continue to play hard in practice. This team also shows great camaraderie and is one of the closest teams that I have ever coached. These are all really big positives that will hopefully transfer over into the regular season."
The Saints return nine players to the 2010-11 team, including Garrett Sharlow and Ben Araya who will serve as co-captains, and welcome the addition of five newcomers.
Junior co-captain Sharlow, who earned second team All-Conference honors last season, was the team's third leading scorer and will be called upon to continue to be a key contributor on both ends of the floor. Averaging 12.2 points per game last season, the Massena, NY native recorded 32 assists, 166 rebounds (6.4 pg), 31 steals, and two blocks and had a strong presence on the boards as the Saints second leading rebounder. He is a versatile player who can shoot from behind the arc as well as use his size and physical strength to defend and score points in the paint.
"Garrett is a passionate basketball player," said Coach Downs. "He has been very vocal and has shown great leadership during the preseason and will continue to do so when we start our schedule next week."
Araya, the lone senior, brings energy and poise to the team as co-captain. Coming off a solid junior season in which he recorded 74 points, 26 assists, 12 steals, and six blocks, the Westborough, MA has the ability to use his strength and athleticism on the defensive end as a tough back side rebounder.
"Ben is a great leader on and off the court," said Coach Downs. "He is an energetic guy and brings a spark to the team."
Also returning to the Saints are juniors Ralph Temgoua and Terry Parham, and sophomore Nick Meunier. Temgoua comes off a strong second year where he was named the Liberty League Tournament MVP after leading the Saints to the conference title. Also earning All-Conference honorable mention, the Paris, France native averaged 12.7 points per contest as the team's leading scorer and also recorded 82 assists, 180 rebounds, 38 steals, and 15 blocks. Temgoua brings back his ability to shoot as well as beat defenders to the basket off the dribble.
Parham returns quickness and high energy defense to the Saints, coming off a great sophomore season. As the team's fifth leading scorer, the Petersburg, VA native averaged 7.8 points per game and racked up 41 assists, 74 rebounds, 30 steals, and three blocks throughout the season.
Meunier, a Colchester, VT native, had a solid rookie season averaging 7.1 points per game and brings size and strength to the post. The 6-5 forward led all first-year players, accumulating 193 points, eight assists, 93 rebounds, seven steals and 23 blocks in 27 games played.
Also returning to the 2010-11 are promising veterans, juniors John Epplito (Skaneateles, NY) and Corey Begley (Geneva, NY), sophomores Jon Goldberg (Stowe, VT) and Kyle Miller (Central Square, NY), and newcomers Payton Stahler (Canajoharie, NY), Brady O'Neil (Laconia, NH), Janpeter Brase (Lake Wylie, SC), Brandon Rivera (Queens, NY) and Al Jones (Newark, NJ).
The Saints will tip-off their season at Paul Smith's College and continue to face tough competition right off the bat with Rochester, Bates, Plattsburgh, and Ithaca following.
"This first stretch of games will serve as a decent bench mark of our ability" said Coach Downs. "These teams will all finish at the top of their conferences. How we perform against them will provide us with a good measure of where we stand."
The Saints home opener is on November 30th against Plattsburgh State. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm in the Burkman Gymnasium.