Springfield College men’s basketball will open their season against crosstown rival Western New England on November 19 in what is set to be an exciting, yet challenging season.
While the Pride graduated several players, including Alex Berthiaume, their leading scorer from last year, they believe they have filled the scoring gap. Last year, Coach Charlie Brock, alongside
Assistant Coach Jim Mack, installed a new offense that came with its sporadic bumps. This year, the offense will continue to bloom with much more familiarity.
“One of the major strengths is balance,” Brock said. “We don’t have any exceptional weapons, but we’ve got a lot of good ones. So I think it will be hard for any team to literally key in on any one guy, and try to stop that person to try and beat us. Offensively, we are way ahead of what we were last year with kind of a new set up, to take advantage of a couple things. Last year was a lot of ball-screen things, offensively. We’re doing a little bit of that, but quite a bit less.”
The Pride will have a plethora of scorers on this year’s squad, making it a nightmare for the opposition’s defense. One of the focal points for the Pride this year will be their ability to defend and rebound.
What will become very evident from their first home game against Western New England is the camaraderie established. However, the Pride’s success will hinge on their use of size and hustle on the defensive end.
“We’ve moved [Larry Pietra], who was more of a perimeter player, into a post position just to have a little more depth there,” Brock said. “We have to all rebound or we’re not going to be successful. I think the guys are buying into that; we need to get better at that. It was a bit of a weakness in both scrimmages.”
What both Brock and Mack noted was the team’s hustle. Fans can look forward to an intense group of players that are willing to put it all on the line, every game.
“[It will be] a team that can come out and compete every night,” Mack said. “A team that will play for each other, a team that loves playing together, and a team that will bring a high energy every single night. It’s really exciting, as coaches, to know that that’s what you’re going to get.”
Aside from their initial match-up against Western New England, the Pride will face a tough schedule heading into December, as they take the road to Pittsburgh for the Carnegie Mellon Invitational, a tournament Brock is looking forward to.
The Pride will face teams out of their conference, posing a true test to their depth, which will prepare them for the other tough opponents on their schedule later in the season. Brock deliberately constructed the schedule to be tough in an effort to prime his players for the rest of the season.
“We’re going to go to Pittsburgh and play one of the top teams in the country, and won’t know much about them, so we’ll have to adjust on the fly,” Brock noted. “That’s always an interesting scenario. They’ll all be good match-ups, and we try to get a good schedule so we’re prepared to play in the league and our tournament.”
The first regular season game for the Pride will be against Western New England on November 19. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Blake Arena.