Junior guard/forwards Jeremiah Smith (left) and Ikechukwu Ezike (right)
By Kamiko Chamble
The season is starting and Plattsburgh’s men’s basketball team has some new players to bring to the table.
The roster includes one first-year student and the team’s only center, Aidan McGuire.
Three sophomores are listed: guard A.J. Williams Jr., forward Ankush Malhotra and guard/forward Jeremy Jolly.
Seven juniors made the team: guard Franklin Infante, guard Kevin Tabb, guard/forward Ikechukwu Ezike, guard Sasha Vidrini, guard Matt Kone-Bradshaw, forward Ladan Graves and guard/forward Jeremiah Smith.
Three seniors return to the court: guard Darren Wright, guard Willard Anderson Jr. and forward Orlando Dawkins.
Two graduate students join the team: guard/forward Dylan Trombley, an All-SUNYAC player from SUNY Oneonta, and guard/forward Tim Thomas from Division II Flagler College.
Smith comes from Jefferson Community College to now play at Plattsburgh State and get his degree in communications.
Smith has been playing basketball since seventh grade and originally started playing because his parents always played basketball. His father, Curtis Smith, is his role model and had the biggest impact on his basketball career. Curtis Smith is a Plattsburgh State Hall of Famer. Jeremiah Smith came to Plattsburgh State for a new start and is coming in with a new and positive attitude.
“I’m excited for winning because I can tell this team has a different attitude than my last school,” Smith said. “I’m passionate about bringing the winning culture that my father brought to the school when he was here.”
Smith expressed that he just wants to be a team player this season. He isn’t worried about himself, as he’s focused on helping improve his new team and putting in work so they can all win. Smith hopes to put Plattsburgh back on the maps in terms of basketball.
Ezike also comes from Jefferson Community College to now play at Plattsburgh State and get his degree in psychology. Ezike is excited to be around new players and energy.
“I’m excited to be around a new group of people. It’s definitely a better energy towards the SUNYAC championship or a championship in general,” Ezike said. “It’s good to be around a new coaching staff, in a new facility, around new faces, I’m just excited to be here.”
Even though Ezike always knew how to play basketball, he only started playing basketball his junior year of high school.
“The reason I actually started taking it seriously was because of my coach from high school. His name was Jermaine Campbell, a great guy,” Ezike said. “He definitely opened my mind up to great things life-wise.”
Jolly, like Trombley, comes from an in-conference team in SUNY Cortland. Jolly came to Plattsburgh to experience new things, and new opportunities.
“I would say it’s a new opportunity, there’s some new things to experience with my team and just win. I just want to win — that’s what I came here to do,” Jolly said. “I’m passionate about learning.Learning everyday at practice is definitely hard and challenging in the right way. It gets all of us better, I would say, and just to win. I’m a winner. I like to win.”
Jeremy’s personal goal is to win the SUNYAC Championship.
“First of all, I want to win the SUNYAC chip, that comes first. I ain’t come all this way to Plattsburgh to lose,” Jolly said. “Another personal goal is to just get better, like if I could look at myself at the end of March and say I’m a better player than I was when I came here in August, I’ll be happy with myself this year.”
Trombley is excited to compete with his teammates and get back to playing basketball after taking a year off at his last school. Trombley is very passionate about making an impact and trying to help his team win.
Trombley’s goals for this season are to win, to help his team win and make it to the playoffs. Before a game, Dylan likes to research and know his opponents.
“I like to learn as much as I possibly can about the opponent and then I make sure I’m eating right, sleeping right, just making sure that I am taking care of myself,” Trombley said.
The Plattsburgh Cardinals play Division I University of Vermont for the first time since 1996 tomorrow, Nov. 11. Plattsburgh will play its usual slate of SUNYAC opponents this season, including its last in-conference matchups with SUNY Brockport and Geneseo.
The team looks to improve on last year’s 10-15, 6-12 campaign, and it’s confident in its personnel to get the job done.