October 30, 2008

2008-09 Bloomsburg University Men's Basketball Season Preview

For third-year Bloomsburg University men's basketball coach John Sanow the 2008-09 season is a new beginning. Loaded with young talent and a solid group of returning players, Sanow sees a team that has all the makings of a team that can compete for a spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) playoffs this season.

"We have a solid group of returning players in Drew Jerry, Bryson Mills, and Marco Vucajnk," said Sanow. "I look for them to bring leadership and determination to our squad each and every day. They have been through the PSAC and know what a tough league this in night in and night out."

But the thing that has Sanow looking forward the most to this season is the infusion of youth via a strong freshmen class and a Division I transfer. The newcomers mixing with the veterans will allow Sanow to play a style of ball he has not been able to do at Bloomsburg up to this point; up-tempo.

"With the returning veteran group and a strong recruited class of freshman and a transfer, we will be able to build a team that has the potential to do good things this season," said Sanow. "With a quicker and more athletic group of players we will have the ability to push the ball into transition and get easy baskets. That will be a big key for us this season."

RETURNERS

Leading the group of returning players is guard Drew Jerry. The veteran led the team in assists last season (3.2 per game) as point guard, while averaging 6.7 points per game. Jerry was also solid at the free throw line for the Huskies hitting over 81 percent of his shots.

Along with Jerry, center Marko Vucajnk also returns and will give the Huskies a strong inside presence with his 6-11 frame. Vucajnk has been working hard in the off season improving his offensive and defensive game and as he becomes a more consistent scorer and rebounder, he will become a more important part of the Huskies frontcourt.

The third returning veteran for the Huskies is swingman Bryson Mills. At 6-8 Mills will provide the Huskies with a versatile guard/forward who can shoot the three and post up smaller defenders inside the key. Mills, who has been battling injuries throughout his career, is healthy and will be competing for playing time.

Two other returning players for the Huskies are sophomore Mark Wartman and red-shirt freshman Jesse Betar. Wartman saw limited time a year ago, while Betar has been working hard in the off-season and improving and will compete for minutes.

NEWCOMERS

A strong group of newcomers will give Sanow reason to be optimistic. Leading the new players is Coppin State transfer Ruben Britt. The 6-3 guard played two seasons at Coppin. He started 10 games his freshman season and scored a career-high 18 points at Hampton. Britt, who was born in Bloomsburg but grew up in New Jersey, is a tough competitor who drives the ball well, is aggressive to the basket, and is capable of shooting the three-pointer.

Freshman Ronnie Benson is a versatile guard who is strong, can attack off the dribble and has the ability to shoot the three. Greg Elliott, from British Columbia, Canada, is a good three point shooter, a good defender and a quality leader who will look to make an impact in the backcourt this season.

Trevon Johnson is a very talented individual who is looking to be a threat in the backcourt this year. He is quick, pushes the ball in transition and can score in the open floor. He also looks to attack the basket off the dribble.

In the frontcourt for the Huskies are Dan Hoover and Larry Webster. Hoover is a strong skilled post player who can play the high or low post position and has been working hard to become a solid defensive rebounder. Webster is as an athletic center that runs the floor well, works hard on the offensive and defensive boards, and is working on improving his back to the basket game.

OVERALL

Reaching the PSAC playoffs is the primary goal for the Huskies heading into the new season. To prepare the Huskies for the always-tough PSAC schedule, Sanow has assembled a schedule that gives Bloomsburg the necessary challenges and opportunities for success.

An exhibition game with Penn State will get things going followed by an opening-season tournament in Vermont. The Huskies also face Pitt-Johnstown and Wilmington, two solid programs in addition to PSAC-crossover games with the Western Division.

In the PSAC East, look for two of the top contenders to be Kutztown and Millersville and East Stroudsburg. are also teams that will be looking to be mix for the four playoff spots. With a lot of learning and building the Huskies look to make the PSAC playoffs and compete with the top contenders.

"I feel good as we head into the start of a new season," said Sanow. "The team has been working hard and wants to succeed. They are doing everything we've asked of them so far in order to achieve that goal of reaching the PSAC playoffs. I can't wait to tip-off."