The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team will tip off their season this Saturday against Keene State in Memorial Hall at 5:30 p.m.
The Cards bring back 12 players from last season, with five new freshmen faces joining.
Coach Tom Curle has been extremely adamant on having a strong start to the season and keeping the same energy throughout the entire season.
“The maturity level has been immense, there’s a willingness to want to be coach,” Curle said. “They are more engaged in protecting the paint, putting a hand up on shooters it’s been very impressive and we are very pleased with the leadership.”
Getting better mentally and physically has not only been on the mind of the coaches but on the players as well.
Point guard Eli Bryant, one of only four seniors on the team, looks to not make some of the same mistakes that plagued the team midway through last season. Maturity for him is one of the biggest improvements and where PSUC will shine best.
“Big improvement in maturity. Last year it felt like we were young minded and blamed each other instead of holding ourselves accountable for our own mistakes,” Bryant said. “This year, we have a different mindset.”
With 12 players returning, chemistry should not be too much of an issue.
“We have a lot of the same team from last year,” Curle said. “We are a young talented team and a bit more focused with a lot of people being on the same page.”
Confidence of the team is at a high. Starting with a clean record of 0-0 will motivate any team to want to start off strong and play that way the entire season. With the first game of the season quickly approaching, the final preparations are being made to this team as they look to capture the SUNYAC title.
Senior guard Eric Mack would love to go out on top, but knows that the preparation is well needed before accomplishing such high accomplishments.
“I’m very confident in myself and my guys,” Mack said. “I know how much work we’ve put in, and I know how much we want to prove that we need to be taken as serious as anyone else.”
One of the most detrimental times during last season, was the break that stretched from Dec. 28 to Jan. 29. That’s an entire month where the players had to recover their bodies for the final stretch of the season, and they did not respond well.
Since returning from their break last season, the Cards dropped their first five games back and Curle emphasized that this wouldn’t be the case this year.
“One of the issues with that time period is that there is a slow down in time,” Curle said. “We will look into getting more shots up and keeping everyone conditioned for that stretch.”
Bryant knew at the end of last season that this couldn’t happen again, especially in his final season here at Plattsburgh. He immediately went to work giving himself room for improvement.
“I focused on skill work and conditioning a lot this off season,” Bryant said. “I stayed in Plattsburgh this summer so I would have access to the gym whenever I wanted. It helped in my improvements.”
The guys are excited to start off the season, and brush off the disappointment of last season.
“Mentally, I’m pretty excited for this year. We as a team have been working really hard for this upcoming year,” Bryant said. “ As a leader, I learned a lot from last year’s failures and plan on making the adjustment this season.”
Saturday’s match up will be seen as a statement for them as they will look to prove all the doubters wrong. The Plattsburgh Cards will be taking on the Keene State Owls on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall. When asked what goal the team has for this season, Mack responded quickly and simply.
“SUNYAC title. That’s all we want.”
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