HC Cagers Looking to Return to Post-Season

Release Date:
November 8, 2006
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

Men’s Basketball Preview

HAMBURG, NY – Coming off an improved 2005-06 season, the Hilbert College men’s basketball team looks for a return to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs after reaching the conference semifinals a year ago. The Hawks lost 67-70 in overtime at the buzzer to conference champion and NCAA tournament participant Lake Erie College last February. Rebounding from an early 1-5 start, Hilbert went on to finish 12-14 overall and 9-9 in the AMCC while finishing fourth in the 10 team league.

Fifth-year head coach Rob deGrandpre welcomes back ten seasoned veterans along with four first-year players. Success hinges on the ability of deGrandpre’s eight upperclassmen to get off to a fast start while erasing the memory of four overtime losses and a buzzer beater a year ago. “We are a much older team now and we have some people that have played in a lot of critical situations,” said deGrandpre. “There’s no question we’re counting on these people to carry us on both ends of the floor while we progress through the year.”

Look for long time back-court mates Mike Reyes (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon), and Glen Ufland (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon) to lead the perimeter players. Reyes is coming off a sophomore campaign that saw the 5’8” speedster lead the AMCC in assists per game (5.54) while averaging 29.8 minutes per contest. At 6’0”, Ufland averaged 7.0 ppg and will keep defenses honest after knocking down 47 three-point field goals last winter.

6’2” sophomore guard John Koniniec (Depew, NY/Depew) should find his way into the rotation with a year under his belt and a productive preseason. He is joined by 6’5” junior guard Dan Rodriguez (Oneida, NY/Oneida) who can score inside-and-out while bringing a spark off the bench.

Junior Dallas Reinard (Smethport, PA/Smethport) comes off a breakout season which saw the 6’4” guard-forward average 17.9 ppg while leading the AMCC in three point field goals made (65). The second team All-AMCC performer started 25 of 26 games and shot 77% from the foul line in 2005-06.

Up front the Hawks will rely on a pair of seniors that combined for 45 starts last season. 6’6” Corey Vander Sluis (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) averaged 17.2 ppg, a team high 8.3 rebounds, and recorded 28 blocked shots while joining Reinard on the All-Conference second team. 6’4” Ron Dussett (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Traditional) averaged 5.7 ppg to go along with 6.0 rpg and plays a key role in the Hawks’ defensive plans.

6’5” junior Noah McHale (Bradford, PA/Archbishop Walsh) provides stability to a front line where he shot a team best 58% from the field last year. He joins 6’6” junior Mark Smith (Palmerston North, NZ/Palmerston) who is a threat from the arc as well as in the post. 6’5” forward Tyler Blanar (Eden, NY/Eden) rejoins the program and brings added depth inside.

Newcomers looking to contribute include 6’5” forward Travis Jackson (Rochester, NY/Greece Olympia) and 6’4” forward John Arns (Ripley, NY/Ripley). In the backcourt, the Hawks welcome a 6’1” combo guard in Bobby Brown (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) and 6’0” shooter Lamont Moreno (Harriman, NY/Monroe Woodbury).

The Hawks open the season at home on Saturday, November 11th with an exhibition game against Fleming College of Canada. The first regular season game is Friday, November 17th at home against 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.