HC cagers return nine veterans for 2007-08

Release Date:
November 7, 2007
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

HAMBURG, NY – Coming off their first ever appearance in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament, the Hilbert College men’s basketball team looks to return to post-season play again this winter. With a seasoned group of nine veterans and seven new faces, sixth-year head coach Rob deGrandpre has a talented group primed to make a run at the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) championship.

Having reached the semifinals of the AMCC tournament the last two years, deGrandpre’s Hawks want nothing more than to clear that hurdle and play for the right to advance to the NCAA tournament. “I really think we’re much deeper than we’ve been in the past,” said deGrandpre. “I like our guard play and we are steady and experienced in the front-court.”

The senior class is comprised of 6’4” pre-season conference Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American Dallas Reinard (Smethport, NY/Smethport) who is coming off his most productive season. After garnishing AMCC Player of the Year honors last winter, the nation’s 16th leading scorer at 22.4 ppg raked in numerous post-season accolades and will again be a marked man.

5’9” point guard and all-time assist leader Michael Reyes (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon) returns after leading the conference statistically the past two seasons. His 6.0 assists per contest in 2006-07 ranked 12th nationally while his 54 steals were fifth best in the AMCC.

Noah McHale (Bradford, PA/Archbishop Walsh) averaged 7.3 ppg and 4.9 rpg during his junior campaign and anchors the Hawks inside game. At 6’5”, McHale offers a mid-range game and provides strength in the post. His 0.82 blocks per game was eighth best in the league a year ago.

A pair of 6’5 forwards will provide depth as fellow classmates Tyler Blanar (Eden, NY/Eden) and Dan Rodriguez (Oneida, NY/Oneida) look to provide a spark off the bench. Blanar averaged 3.1 ppg and 2.1 boards last winter while Rodriguez has been a threat from the arc in 41 career appearances.

6’7” junior forward Mark Smith (Palmerston North, NZ/Palmerston) missed all of last year with an injury and should be healthy before the first semester comes to and end. He joins 6’5” Ian Frost (Cherry Creek, NY/Pine Valley) and 6’3” guard John Koniniec (Depew, NY/Depew) as three solid reserves for deGrandpre to utilize. 6’0” transfer guard Dan Terrette (Shinglehouse, PA/Oswayo Valley) and 6’7” forward Malcolm Edwards (Cleveland Heights, OH/Lutheran East) should contribute right away and round out the junior class.

6’6” sophomore forward Travis Jackson (Rochester, NY/Greece Olympia) played in 26 games as a freshman and should battle for a starting spot after a productive off-season.

A guard orientated freshman class begins with 5’9” speedster Andy Marchand (Rochester, NY/C.G. Finney) who can play either guard position. 5’7” Aaron Burbidge (Cazenovia, NY/Cazenovia) brings depth to the backcourt along with 6’0” Andy Passage (Amherst, NY/St. Joseph’s) and 6’4” wing player Justin Allen (Niles, OH/McKinley). 6’2” walk-on Ryan Becote (Buffalo, NY/Seneca) completes the roster after an impressive fall try-out.

“The conference should be much more balanced this year,” added deGrandpre. “We want to make sure we prepare accordingly so that we’re in position to make the conference tourney. Then anything can happen.”

Picked to finish third in the AMCC preseason coaches' poll, the Hawks open the 2007-08 season at home on Saturday, November 10th with an exhibition game against Mohawk College of Canada.

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.