2003-2004 Season Preview

Release Date:
November 13, 2003
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

The Hilbert College men’s basketball team is preparing for another year of NCAA Division III competition as the Hawks open the season Nov. 22 and 23 at the St. John Fisher College Marketplace Invitational Tournament.

This year’s schedule is very challenging with the Hawks on the road for nine of their first 11 games. The schedule includes D-III News Preseason Top 20 teams St. John Fisher College and Buffalo State College, as well as 2003 NCAA Tournament participant Pitt-Bradford University and defending ECAC champion Rochester Institute of Technology.

In a rebuilding year, Hilbert finished last season with a 1-23 record. Second-year head coach Rob deGrandpre has brought in 11 newcomers since arriving on campus last September and will count on this group to improve on last year’s mark.

“The competitive schedule that awaits us should prepare the team for the riggers of the 2004-05 season when we move to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference,” said deGrandpre. “We will continue to build on the foundation of present recruits as part of our efforts to develop the men’s basketball program.”

Junior guards Sam Gioia (W. Seneca West/West Seneca, NY) and Sean Kenney (Tonawanda/Tonawanda, NY) will be counted on to provide leadership and stability on the perimeter. Gioia, a first-team All-NEAC selection last season, averaged 11.4 ppg and led the Hawks with 4.3 apg and 2.3 spg per game. Kenney, a 6’3 shooter, averaged 8.8 ppg and 4.9 rpg last year.

Also returning are 6’2 senior guard John Jordan (Bishop Ludden/Syracuse, NY), and sophomore forwards Al Leight (Oakfield Alabama/Oakfield, NY) and Chris Frunzi (St. Francis/Hamburg, NY). All three players appeared in at least 15 games last season, with the 6’7 Leight finishing second on the team in rebounding with five per game.

Junior college transfer Brett VanAntwerp (Central Square/Hastings, NY) and freshmen Glen Ufland (Bishop Timon/Buffalo, NY), Brian Wojcik (St. Mary’s/Buffalo, NY), Ryan Brancato (Bishop Timon/Buffalo, NY), and Kyle Kurkowski (Pembroke/Corfu, NY) are all looking to make significant contributions in the backcourt.

Six-foot-five transfer Will Werely (Henninger/Syracuse, NY) and 6’7 Paul Marvin (Wayne Central/Ontario, NY), a former player at Pitt-Bradford, will push the veterans for playing time in the low post. Freshmen Dominic Miller (W. Seneca West/Niagara Falls, NY), Keon Rembert (Archbishop Walsh/Brooklyn, NY), Mike Zmuda (Gowanda Central/Gowanda, NY), and Tyler Blanar (Eden/Eden, NY) will also contend for frontcourt minutes this season.

“The coaching staff is excited to watch this recruiting class grow. The majority of new players will be counted on immediately and have already shown they are prepared for the challenges that await us,” said deGrandpre.

The Hawks open up at home at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 against Alfred University.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.