HC Cagers prepare for 2005-06 Season

Release Date:
November 8, 2005
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

Men's Basketball Preview

HAMBURG, NY - The Hilbert College men’s basketball team enters their second season as a member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) and fourth year in the Rob deGrandpre-Era. The 2004-05 Hawks rebounded from an early 1-7 start to go on a 9-8 run that saw the team just miss the AMCC post season playoffs and finish with an improved 10-15 record.

Five experienced performers and 10 exciting recruits will help deGrandpre’s Hawks fill the void left from departed senior forwards Sean Kenney and Will Wereley, as well as do-it-all guard Sam Gioia. How quickly the new Hawks can mesh with the veteran players will undoubtedly play a role in how far this year’s team goes. “We were certainly disappointed on just missing-out on the AMCC tourney last winter,” said deGrandpre of his team’s seventh place finish. “Our players are determined to get to post-season play, making sure we are getting better as the season progresses so we can reach that goal.”

Look for returning guards Glen Ufland (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon), Mike Reyes (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon) and Dallas Reinard (Smethport, PA/Smethport) to lead the perimeter players. Ufland is coming off a productive sophomore campaign and provides a long range shooting touch after leading the conference at 46% from behind the arc. Reyes is a quality point guard that started every game as a freshman while Reinard’s fundamental skills and knack for scoring make him a threat night-in and night-out. 6’5 sophomore Dan Rodriguez (Oneida, NY/Oneida) provided a spark off the bench last year and will again compete for minutes in deGrandpre’s rotation.

Freshman Zach Bye (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) and long time backcourt mate Rocco DiJohn (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) should contribute immediately and will be pushed by fellow rookies Jerome Holloway (Buffalo, NY/Seneca), John Koniniec (Depew, NY/Depew) and Andy Platt (Shortsville, NY/Red Jacket). At 6’4 each, Bye and Platt add perimeter size and the ability to score inside and out. Holloway (6’3) can get to the basket and finish while Koniniec (6’2) brings an all-around game and is strong enough to defend opponents’ bigger guards. DiJohn is a hard-nosed point guard that can score and create for those around him.

As the lone senior on the roster, 6’7 Allen Leight (Oakfield, NY/Oakfield-Alabama) brings a fundamental low post game and will be joined by a pair of 6’6 transfer forwards in Mark Smith (Palmerston North, NZ/Palmerston North), and Corey Vander Sluis (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee). Smith hails from New Zealand and spent last year at Geneseo State while Vander Sluis comes from JUCO power Onondaga Community College. Both will add immediate size to the Hawks frontcourt. At 6’5 former University of Pittsburgh at Bradford forward Noah McHale (Bradford, PA/Bradford) and 6’4 Niagara County Community College product Ron Dussett (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Traditional) will also challenge for time inside. Will Crotty (Erie, PA/Iroquois), a 6’8 freshman provides shot blocking ability and will develop as the year progresses.

The Hawks open the season at home on Saturday, November 12th with an exhibition game against Centennial College out of Canada. The first regular season game is Friday, November 18th at 2004-05 Liberty League regular season champion, Hobart College.

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.