(Photo Co-Captain Matt Vadas (left) and Camel All-American and Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Kareem Tatum '01 (right). After two uncharacteristic back to back losing seasons, the Connecticut College men's basketball team is eager to get back on the floor in the new season. "It makes for a long summer when you have that kind of season," reflects Head Coach Tom Satran. "It's really a great credit to our players that they have shown not even the slightest dip in enthusiasm or effort. They are eager to get back out there and win some ball games."
Under Coach Satran's leadership, the team surged to a 17-8 record in 2008 and has qualified for four of the last eight highly competitive NESCAC Tournaments. As the team looks ahead to the upcoming season, they are hungry to get back on the winning track.
In addition to the rigor of the NESCAC campaign, the Camels have several other exciting components to the schedule.
For the third year, Connecticut College and the United States Coast Guard Academy will co-host the Citizens Bank Tournament. In the first round, the Camels play the University of Maine Presque Isle and Coast Guard plays St. Joseph's.
As part of the tournament agenda, Coach Satran will partner with Kids, Books and Athletics (KBA), the college's acclaimed community outreach program, to give a basketball clinic, discuss the importance of education and bring KBA kids to the tournament games.
A Winter trip is quickly becoming a tradition for the Camels. Last year the team played in the Tampa Bay Shootout. In December 2013, Connecticut College will travel to North Carolina to play Methodist College in Fayetville, N.C. Along the way, they will practice at some of college basketball's famed Tobacco Road landmarks.
The Camels begin the season by hosting the inaugural Connecticut College Coaches vs. Cancer Tip Off Tournament November 16 and 17. Connecticut College plays Bard College in the 6:00 PM opener while Suffolk University and Western New England College meet in the 8:00 PM game.
The Camels return several proven talents in 2014 but opponents will key their efforts first and foremost on stopping co-captain Matt Vadas '14, a senior swingman. Vadas has scored 1258 points in three seasons and has a chance to become the school's all time leading scorer. The current record is held by Kareem Tatum '01, a former All-America and multiple time First Team All NESCAC Selection.
Vadas has gone over the 30 point mark six times in his career career, and led the team in rebounds each of the past two seasons. He also set the single game scoring mark with 43 points against Westminster (Pa.) in December 2013. On the glass, Vadas has developed into one of the NESCAC's top rebounders, pulling down 7.5 boards a game last season.
It is little surprise that Coach Satran speaks so highly of Vadas. "Matt has always scored the ball well but his rebounding, defense and commitment to team play have improved so much over the past three seasons that he has really been fun to coach."
John Bullitt '14, also a team co-captain, will again be called upon for gritty play in the low post and be asked to set the team standard for work ethic and durability in practice.
Rob Harrigan '14, returns from a year off and will be a key contributor. Harrigan, a career 41% (101-for-242) three point shooter may be the team's steadiest performer and certainly its most clutch, already netting two game winning shots vs. NESCAC opponents in his career.
Mason Lopez '14, another senior, should again prove to be a reliable three point threat. Lopez made 45% of his attempts from behind the arc last year. A tough competitor and defender, Lopez will be a key player on both sides of the ball for the Camels in 2013.
Patrick Deegan '14, a third year player who will graduate early, is a tireless worker and perfect teammate, who will again challenge for playing time this season. Jethro Anilus and Tyrone Turner round out the senior class for this year's team.
Bo McKinley figures to be the team's starting point guard. McKinley, who went through the gauntlet of NESCAC play as a freshman, is poised to capitalize on that wealth of experience in 2013-14. Joining McKinley in the sophomore class are forwards Austin Brown, Aaron McBurnie and Kevin Myricks, all of whom are hoping to make big contributions in their second seasons.
The Camels also welcome five freshmen to the program. Brandon Carson (Glenmore, Pa./Downington West HS), Alex Hall (Durham, N.C./Brewster Academy), Colin Pascoe (Somers, Conn./ Suffield Academy), Zuri Pavlin (New York, N.Y./Brewster Academy) and Jamie Swimmer (Glencoe, Ill./North Shore Country Day) comprise the basketball class of 2017.