The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team is no stranger to success, but after falling just short of being champions for three straight seasons, believes this may be the year it gets over the hump.
The Cardinals have made an appearance in seven of the last 10 SUNYAC championship games, and if everything goes according to their season plan, will see an eighth in 2016. A change they hope to see, however, is winning the championship game, something they have fallen just short of the last three seasons.
Head coach and all-time leader in wins at PSUC Tom Curle is clear that his main goal is no different than it has been for the most recent seasons.
“Our goal is always to end up in that championship game,” Curle said.
The Cards lost seven seniors to graduation last spring, so the beginning of this season is going to be an adjustment period for both the new arrivals as well as the returners who are stepping into larger roles for the team.
The team will be led by a trio of seniors: Kyle Richardson, Edward Correa and Xavier Thomas. Though they will undoubtedly be stepping into much larger roles as the most experienced players on the team, all three athletes have seen a good deal of on-court time since they have arrived at PSUC.
Thomas, a transfer now in his second season at PSUC, consistently electrified both Memorial Hall and opponents’ gyms last season with his ability to sneak behind the opposing team’s big men and get way up for an alley-oop finish.
Also, as the previous season progressed, Thomas began to showcase his ability to score in a number of other ways. Thomas is confident that his personal progression as well as the team as a whole is going to spell success for the Cards this season.
“I definitely expect us to go really far and be in the same position as last year, hosting SUNYACs here at our own court,” Thomas said. “We are young, but we are also talented, and everyone is putting in the extra work.”
A large part of PSUC’s recovery process from the hole left by graduation are transfers that have arrived on campus this year. Curle expressed how all the transfers, are going to be extremely an important tool used to assure success for the Cards, and some specific transfers are ready to make a large impact at positions that the Cards are in need of filling.
“Elijah Bryant is a guy who was on a very good junior college team, and I expect him to be able to contribute right away,” Curle said. “That was a question mark position for us, but now we have Zach Coleman who has improved a lot as well as Brandon Johnson, who didn’t play that position in high school but is more than capable of doing so.”
Junior Vaughn Dweck is confident the Cards can finally achieve their ultimate goal, a SUNYAC championship.
“We’re trying to get the SUNYAC chmapionship,” Dweck said. “We’ve lost in the championship three years in a row but I know it’s something we can get done.”
The Cards are young and inexperienced. But what they lack in age and experience they make up for in talent and effort.
“Everyone is working insanely hard,” Thomas said. “I’m trying to tell both thenew guys and everyone else that hard work pays off and I know that it is going to pay off for us.”
Email Bailey Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org