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SUNY Potsdam men’s basketball continues building process for 2013-14

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POTSDAM - The 2013-14 edition of the SUNY Potsdam men’s basketball team will look to continue its building process and add on to the advances made by last year’s group.

Losing four seniors, including the program’s seventh all-time leading scorer in Curtis Pierce, will be big shoes to fill, but the Bears return 10 players, including three starters. Getting that kind of experience back, as well as two redshirt juniors, should help the Bears gel quickly and compete in the SUNYAC Conference.

Along with the 10 returners, the team added six new faces including four players that look to contribute immediately, two freshman, Josh Blagrove and Gage Ellis, and two junior college transfers, Rishawd Hendricks and Darien Croft.

This added depth will give the team the opportunity to play an up tempo style and get out in transition, helping to spread the scoring load around the whole squad rather than on the shoulders of one or two guys.

“This year’s team will be built around the versatility of our players,” said Potsdam head coach Sherry Dobbs. “We have a good mix of perimeter and post players and are working hard on becoming a very good defensive and rebounding team. We will look to have a balanced scoring attack and a mix of interior scoring as well as guys who can shoot the ball very well.”

GUARD

Sophomore Joe Estramonte (Greenwich, N.Y.) played mostly as a key reserve last season, but looks to build on that experience and contribute more this year. In 18.1 minutes per game, Estramonte shot 39.4% from behind the arc and dished out 37 assists while totaling 23 steals.

Junior Greg Torchon (Spring Valley, N.Y.) returns after missing all of last year with an injury. He has appeared in 43 games in two seasons and is lauded for his tenacious work ethic and defense. He will be relied upon for his leadership and was named a captain this past spring.

Junior Tom Graf (Elbridge, N.Y.) transferred in last year from Onondaga Community College, but missed the entire season with an injury. He had a phenomenal offseason and looks to have an impact on both ends of the floor out of the wing position.

Junior Zac Adams (Potsdam, N.Y.) has been a contributing player since coming in as a freshman, Adams brings experience and a “lead by example” mentality to the team that has earned him the honor of being named a team captain. After another good offseason, he should play a major role on both offense and defense with his athleticism and understanding of the rigors of the season.

Junior Rishawd Hendricks (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is a transfer student from Hostos Community College who looks to make an immediate impact for the team with his athleticism and aggressive defense.

Junior Darien Croft (Amityville, N.Y.) is another transfer student from Sullivan Community College, who brings in a quickness and understanding of college basketball that will position him to contribute right away.

Senior Brandon Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.) played mostly off the bench as a key reserve last year, but looks to build on his personal success over the last five games of the season, shooting 46% from the field during that stretch, and continue to be a force both offensively and defensively, particularly on the glass.

Sophomore Mitch Lamerson (Dansville, N.Y. ), sophomore Frank Bushen (Rochester, N.Y.), and sophomore Shane Vennee (Tampa, F.L.) will be looked upon for their shooting and added depth.

FORWARDS

Senior Colin Peterson (Hilton, N.Y.) is coming off of a very productive offseason and will look to stay consistent. He brings an important dynamic with his athleticism and skill set that can be extremely difficult for other teams to match up to.

Senior Rob Duquette (Peru, N.Y.) has been in the starting lineup since his freshman year. The three year captain’s experience and leadership will play a key role in the Bears’ success this season.

Averaging almost 10 points and six rebounds per game the last three seasons, Duquette will be a major force. He will look to continue to improve in all aspects of his game as he has done each of the previous seasons.

Sophomore Tariq McIntyre (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be trying to build on the experience of his rookie year and contribute needed depth at the forward position.

Freshmen Josh Blagrove (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Gage Ellis (Dryden, N.Y. ) will look to further bolster the Bears’ frontcourt and both are immediate challengers for game minutes. Both enter their rookie seasons as capable scorers inside as well as beyond the arc. They are working hard at adjusting to the defensive and rebounding demands of college basketball.

The Bears will also play an excellent out of conference schedule starting with the North Country Invitational sponsored by Casella Waste Management on November 15th-16th at Maxcy Hall. Potsdam tips off with SUNY Canton at 8 p.m. and then plays SUNY Farmingdale the next afternoon at 3 p.m. The Bears’ other non-conference opponents include North Country rivals Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College, Manhattanville College and the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

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