POTSDAM - Winners of 33 games over the last two seasons, the Clarkson University mens basketball team is in the midst of its best two-year, three-year, and four-year runs in program history.
However, after posting back-to-back winning seasons in the Liberty League yet missing the post-season, the Golden Knights are ready for more and a strong returning core should help the Green and Gold gain admittance to the conferences championship tournament in 2013-14.
Guided by fifth-year head coach Mark Gilbride and third-year assistant Mike Hauser, the Golden Knights have finished in a tie for fourth place in the Liberty League each of the last two seasons but, due to tiebreakers, have come up short of the fourth spot in the conference tournament each time. With three starters returning and several key bench players ready to fill in, the Knights are poised to challenge for a top spot in the conference.
Senior Marques Charlton (Deer Park, NY) and junior John Coleman (Potsdam, NY), both Liberty League All-Stars in 2012-13, are within striking distance of 1,000 career points, with Charlton needing 256 and Coleman 286 shy. The duo both ranked in the top 10 in the conference in scoring last year (Coleman – 15.0 ppg, Charlton – 13.8 ppg) and will be counted upon once again for offensive production. Additionally, Charlton will look to slide up the list of all-time playmakers, as he has 272 assists (seventh in program history) in his Clarkson career, while Coleman will look to crack the top 20 all-time in rebounding, currently needing just 64 caroms to enter that list.
While Charlton and Coleman are looking to jump up the all-time leaderboards, sophomore Felix Abongo (Beacon, NY) is just getting started. Averaging 9.8 points per game through his freshman campaign, the swingman averaged 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in the final three weeks of the season (eight games), giving a glimpse of what may to be come. Classmate Jeremy Liss (Vestal, NY) and juniors Christian Collette (Yalesville, NY), Dylan Hodownes (Cazenovia, NY) and Charles McAllister (Olathe, KS) will also be in the rotation, with each providing a specialized skill set to augment the Knights dynamic offense.
The Golden Knights squad has recently been a mismatch nightmare for most teams with every player on the court capable of handling the ball and shooting from the perimeter, but this year Clarkson will add size on the interior with its freshman class to help keep opponents honest.
Clarkson will open its regular season at the annual North Country Invitational, this year being hosted by SUNY Potsdam this Friday and Saturday. They tip-off the tournament against Farmindale State at 6 p.m. on Friday.