By Otto Gomez
The College’s men’s basketball team will start its 2015-16 season this Friday, Nov. 13 as it competes in the Wheaton College Tournament in Norton, Mass.
Their first game is a matchup against Salve Regina University, and the following day they will square off against the winner of the Wheelock College vs. Wheaton College game. After the Lions return home, preparation for the 23-game regular season begins.
The two captains for the team this year will be junior guard Erik Klacik and senior forward Bobby Brackett. Unfortunately for the team, Brackett, who lead the team in scoring and rebounding last season, will not be able to play all season as he suffered a torn ACL this past June and is still recovering. Looking to fill his shoes is his brother, Nick, and 6’7” sophomore center Steven Kelly.
The squad returns with many of its starters, including guards Klacik and sophomore Eric Murdock, Jr. as well as sophomore forward Elias Bermudez. The returning starters will look toward their freshmen to contribute to the team and help them stay competitive.
Junior guard Alex Cirlincione looks to continue playing a big role on the team for his third consecutive year.
“For the upcoming season, I’m looking to contribute in any way the team needs me to,” Cirlincione said. “As an upperclassman, I can bring leadership and knowledge to the team, which requires me to be more vocal and assertive.”
The team looks to be very competitive once again in the NJAC, this year lead by Matt Goldsmith, replacing Kelly Williams, ’93, as the team’s head coach last spring. Williams now serves as the senior associate director of athletics for external affairs at the College. Goldsmith, who graduated from and coached for Amherst College, returns to his home state looking for success with the team this season.
Cirlincione thinks the team can use a lot of last year’s experience.
“As a team, I expect us to continue to improve from where we left off last year and be the best team in the conference,” he said. “We believe we can beat any team we play, and we’re looking to prove that this year. In order for us to be successful, we have to play with confidence and maintain the same team chemistry we had last year.”
Many of the players share this mentality and are very hopeful about the new season.