Men’s basketball returns 5 starters

Will the glass slipper fit twice? Last year men’s basketball went on a Cinderella run in the NESCAC playoffs to topple eventual national champion Amherst and claim the conference title. This year the team hopes to have a little postseason magic left.

Given that the Ephs lost only two seniors to graduation last spring and return all five starters, maybe they won’t need magic at all – just size, speed and skill. And this season, they have those qualities in spades.

“This is the most talented team I have been on since I have been here,” co-captain Chris Shalvoy ’08 said. “As a team, we are bigger, stronger and more experienced than in years past.”

Along with Shalvoy, co-captain Chris Rose ’08, Kevin Snyder ’09, Blake Schultz ’10 and Joe Geoghegan ’10 make up the starting five. Last year Shalvoy led the team with his .437 shooting percentage and 125 assists, while Rose led the Ephs with 15.4 points per game.

While Rose and Shalvoy will likely be primary contributors again this year, the Ephs are stressing a balanced attack from their starting five. “I expect to have balanced contributions from our five starters,” Shalvoy said. “Any one of us could go for 30 [points] on any given night. If you key on one or two of us, the motto is for the other three guys to ‘get yours.’ All I know is I wouldn’t want to guard us.”

But the team expects more than just the starting five to make an impact. Returners Matt Weisbrot ’08 and Tommas Golia ’09, as well as first-years Harlan Dodson ’11 and Troy Whittington ’11 will likely vie for significant playing time.

In his eighth season at the helm of men’s basketball, Head Coach Dave Paulsen expects this depth and talent to generate a successful season. “We always set our goal not in terms of wins and losses but in pursuing excellence,” Paulsen said. “Trying to be as good as we can possibly be and embracing the process of success. We now have enough size, depth and experience that if we do those things, this should translate to an excellent season in terms of wins and losses.”

Last season, Paulsen – the only Div. III coach to be named National Coach of the Year twice – led the Ephs (16-12, 6-3 in the NESCAC) to a conference title and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.

This year, the Ephs are aiming higher.

“We want concentrate on winning each game and not worry about games down the road,” Rose said. “That said, we always have the goal of winning the Little Three first and foremost and then repeating as NESCAC champs. We also believe that we can take the next step and contend for the national championship this year. We have all of the tools to do it; we just have to go out and prove it.”

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