High Expectations For Pacers

By Shane Ostroski
Sports Editor

The 2009-10 Marywood University Men’s basketball team is looking to make some noise on the court this season. The Pacers will look to improve on their record setting win total,  15 wins last year. The team, under the direction of head coach Eric Grundman, will have somewhat of a different look with eight new players on the roster.

Three highly coveted freshman will see significant playing time for the Pacers. Point Guard, D.J Strayhorn (Henryville, PA) will be called on to replace Prince Blacknell, who averaged 18.5 points a game last season. Strayhorn, who attended Pocono Mountain East High School, was a three time All Conference selection for the Cardinals.

Jacques Robinson (Athens, GA) will help bring some much needed speed to the guard position. Robinson is a hard nose defender and can also hit the open jump shot. Robinson will also play point guard when Strayhorn needs a rest.

Antre Cole (Tobyhanna, PA) completes the freshman trio. Cole is a swingman that can play either guard or forward position. Cole, who attended Pocono Mountain West High School, was named to the second team All Mountain Valley Conference his senior year.

Four transfers will help fill out the roster for the Pacers. Sophomore Matt Lepri, (Tannersville, PA) a transfer from DeSales University, will give the Pacers some versatility. Like Cole, Lepri can play either guard or forward positions. Lepri will be a threat from the outside as well as play a pivotal role on the defensive side of the ball.

Junior Forwad Lenny Martin (Wilkes-Barre, PA), comes to Marywood after spending two years at Luzerne County Community College. At LCCC, Martin was named to the All Conference and All State teams as well as being two time team MVP. Martin’s hustle and athleticism will make it hard for Grundman to keep him on the bench.

Sophomore James Lavan (Plains, PA) will add much needed depth to the point guard position. Lavan attended Coughlin High School where he was named two time Wyoming Valley Conference First Team Division 1 All-Star.

Sophomore guard Kirk Fallon (Thompson, PA) can also score the basketball. Fallon attended Susquehanna High School where he was a 1,000 point scorer as well as being named First Team Lackawanna League All Star.

Junior Guard Tyler Reinhard (Highlands, NJ) returns to the team after sitting a year out. Reinhard averaged 6.6 points per game while shooting 30% from behind the arch. Reinhard’s experience should help the relatively young backcourt.

The Pacers frontcourt will be led by Seniors Jerome Gosney and Chadli Charlot, along with Juniors Matt Medici, and John Foreman. The 6’3 Gosney (Binghamton, NY) who was named team captain, will need to be a leader on and off the court for the Pacers. Gosney averaged 2.6 points  along with 3.1 rebounds per game last year.

Charlot (Lake Worth, Florida), who is the tallest player on the team at 6’9, adds great shot blocking ability as well being a force on the glass. Charlot averaged 3.2 points, as well as 3.9 rebounds per game last season. Charlot also led the team in blocked shots with 14.

The 6’7 Medici (Princeton Junction, NJ) was the third leading scorer for the Pacers last year averaging 9.5 points per game. Medici shot 73.6% from the free throw line while averaging 4.8 rebounds per game.

Foreman (Sleepy Hollow, NY), who stands at 6’5, averaged 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Forman also added 5 blocks and 9 steals on the defensive side of the ball for the Pacers.

Junior Xhevat Vukel (Ogdensburg, NJ), along with sophomores Rich Bell(Fleetwood,PA), Brent Keyes (Susquehanna, PA), and Pat Lambert (Kingsley, PA) will push for playing time at the forward position.

Last season’s leading scorer Sidney Tharpe (Victorville, CA) at 20.9 points per game is expected to be back to the team for the Spring semester. Tharpe shot 82% from the free throw line and averaged 7.9 rebounds per game.

When asked about the team’s goal for this season Rich Bell said, “We hope to grow as a team and hopefully win the CSAC championship, which would give us the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Pacers were picked to finished fourth in the CSAC pre-season poll, but with the blending of some new faces with the old, don’t be surprised if the team exceeds those expectations.