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Fresh faces mark new start for men’s basketball

Fresh faces mark new start for men’s basketball

CLAREMONT, Calif. – Head Coach Ken Scalmanini will be dealt a new hand coming into the 2016-17 season as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team add eight new freshman who are vying for playing time in the rotation. After losing five seniors who had significant playing time last season graduate from the program, the Stags are looking for several players to step up in their steed. Following a 13-12 season, which the Stags went 8-8 in the SCIAC and lost to Chapman in the SCIAC Semifinal, CMS will look to follow up with a stronger campaign with a few familiar faces on the roster. 

"We lost six seniors last year, so this is a new team," Coach Scalmanini explained. "This will be a year of constant improvement and the team learning about each other." 

The loss of then-senior Shelby Lane leaves the Stags with a major gap inside the paint, as Lane led the team with 7.9 rebounds per game and was second in scoring at 10.6 points per game. The big man brought a physical presence inside the paint, and was able to ward quick players away, averaging 1.1 blocks per game. The 6' 9" junior Kendrick Morris (CMC) could be next in line to anchor the paint, as he proved to be extremely productive in spite of his limited playing time, averaging 4.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG in only 9.6 minutes per game. Morris can see his career average skyrocket, if he's awarded the starting position this season. Junior Paul Maddock (CMC), sophomore Patrick Myers (CMC) and freshman Jeremy Horn (CMC) also have size, length, and strength, giving Coach Scalmanini plenty of depth at the five.

Junior Michael Scarlett (CMC) will bring his hot shooting hand and trademark beard back on the court. After leading the team with 12.5 PPG last season while shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc and 87.8% at the free throw line, the junior is looking to take a step forward in his game to take the Stags to the next level. Scarlett scored more than 20 points three times last season, including a career-high 32 points in a 91-73 road victory over Hunter College (NY). Senior Scott Lynds (CMC) on the otherhand will provide a much-needed veteran leadership in the point guard position and will be counted on to organize the offense, while sophomore Evan Davis (CMC) would be counted on for his sharp-shooting.

Senior Riley Hall (CMC) didn't become a starter until halfway through last season, during which he flashed his versatility as a scorer and defender. The then-junior wingman was a workhorse, crashing the boards, sticking to his assignment on defense, and hitting crucial shots for the Stags last season. Hall is expected to take on more responsibilities as leader and will be counted to set the tone on defense for the team. 

"To see the growth and development of Riley and Scott in their four years together has been quite a journey," commented Coach Scalmanini. "I feel really confident in their leadership for the team." 

The Stags have several freshmen who bring a good mix of length and size to the team. Aside from Horn, there are three freshmen who stand above 6' 5", including George Walker (CMC), Maxwell Kirsch (CMC), and Daniel Keinan (CMC). Freshmen guards Sam Garvin (CMC), JD Levine (CMC) and Miles President (HMC) are intriguing talents who bring something unique to the backcourt and as is freshman forward Kele Mkpado (CMC). Aside from their potential, the freshmen's strong work ethic has brought a lot of optimism to the program and drew compliments from the coaching staff. 

"I'm really excited about the incoming freshmen class," Coach Scamanini exclaimed. "They're excited to work out and train on their own. They're also excited to come to practice each and every day." 

Regardless of the significant changes on the roster, the Stags are expected to maintain their identity on the court. This season, CMS expects to be a tough defending team that limits easy baskets and run a motion offense that involves all five players to work together for the basket. Selflessness and teamwork are also to be expected from this team and so far the Stags have shown signs of that.

"The main theme we've been preaching has been being a family and togetherness. The guys on this team enjoy the success of their teammates as much as they enjoy their own." 

[Preseason Interview with Hall and Lynds]

By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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