With less than two weeks until their first game, the UR Men’s Basketball (URBB) is practicing in full swing to prepare themselves for the season.
The team has a scrimmage at SUNY Oswego on Saturday. The Oswego Lakers are led by senior Brian Sortino, who averaged over 20 points per game and was named to the Third All-American Team last year.
“I’ll guard him for 40 minutes,” senior shooting guard Mack Montague said, determined to shut the point guard down. Montague is a captain and has been a key vocal leader for this team through his work ethic and ability to motivate teammates.
The ’Jackets have focused on playing defensively. The team has put tall and lanky players on the perimeter to give it a significant height advantage. Sophomore Ryan Clamage and junior Ray Pelka, both guards, stand at 6’4” and 6’5,” respectively.
In addition, the YellowJackets have two stretch-fours: freshman Jacob Urban (6’8”) and junior Tucker Knox (6’7”). Their wingspan and versatility will help spread defenses on the offensive end.
As a team, the guards are tall and lanky as well. As a result, with good ball pressure, the team should be able to generate many turnovers throughout the season via tipping passes and getting steals from ball-handlers.
Similar to last year, senior Zack Ayers is the only traditional center on the team, standing at 6’10.” After forwards Jared Seltzer and Dylan Peretz graduated in April, freshman forwards Patrick Benka (6’8”) and Erik Braaten (6’9”) look to have significant roles on the team.
With the team’s overall size, the guards should be able to help grab boards and move out in transition after getting defensive stops.
The Yellowjackets have also focused on toughness, which incorporates both physical and mental aspects of the game. Setting a good screen embodies toughness. It is an effort play, and it gets both the screener and other players open. Often times, players do not take the time and effort to set good screens, stifling the offensive flow.
“A lazy or bad screen is a waste of everyone’s time and energy,” Coach Luke Flockerzi said. Flockerzi has emphasized this, among other things, as a way to define toughness for the team. In order to compete at a high level and do well in conference play, the team will have to be disciplined in all facets of the game.
The UR Men’s Basketball team will open up their season against the Ithaca Bombers at Ithaca College on November 15. They then come back to the Louis Alexander Palestra for the Chuck Resler Tournament on Friday, Nov. 18, where they will play the Alfred University Saxons at 6 p.m. UR Women’s Basketball is also playing in the tournament on Friday, facing off at 8 p.m. against SUNY New Paltz.
Both tournament championships will take place on Saturday.