The USMMA men's basketball team tips-off Friday and Saturday at the Admiral's Classic hosted by Maritime (NY). The Mariners will take on RIT in their season opener Friday at 6:00 pm before facing Sarah Lawrence Saturday at 3:00 pm. Merchant Marine is coming off of a 14-12 year, read the full 2013-14 season preview below:
Merchant Marine 2013-14 Men's Basketball Season Preview
The 2013-14 USMMA men's basketball team will be in search of the program's first Landmark Conference Championship since 2010. The Mariners reached the semifinals of the 2013 Landmark Conference Tournament and will return All-Landmark Conference Second-Team selection Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY). USMMA will also have a senior in the back court in Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) returns after averaging 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season.
Sergio led the Landmark Conference with 7.9 rebounds per game in 2013-14 and topped the USMMA roster with five double-double performances. Karczewski shot over 45 percent from the field last year and exploded for a season high 18 points against conference rival Susquehanna.
Merchant Marine will have two more upperclassmen on the roster as Kyle Yong (Wellington, FL) and Paul Styx (Crete, IL) enter their junior season. The duo both served as role players off the bench for USMMA.
The Mariners have a wealth of talent who return to the Academy from sea to start their sophomore seasons. Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) finished second in the Landmark Conference in blocks with 1.7 per game and averaged 9.0 points per game after making 21 starts as a rookie. Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, PA) averaged 5.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as he played in 22 games and made eight starts in his freshmen year. George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) enters the 2013-14 campaign following a rookie season in which he made 11 starts and dished out 55 assists. Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) appeared in every game last year for the Mariners, coming off the bench as a long-range specialist shooting 35 percent from three-point range. David Smith (Lakewood, WA) appeared in 20 games and made three starts as a freshmen and posted a team high 85.7 percent mark at the free throw line.
USMMA has another strong recruiting class that will put on Mariner uniforms for the first time this season. Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) and Hunter Jones (Goodyear, AZ) highlight this year's rookie class. Miller was a 2013 HomeSchool All-American and averaged just under 25 points per game as a senior. Jones was served as a team captain at Millennium High School as a senior, a team that posted a 24-6 record and was ranked 21st in the state of Arizona.
The Mariners received two first-place votes in the 2013-14 Landmark Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll but was ultimately picked to finish fourth. Scranton was selected as the league's preseason favorite while Juniata and Catholic narrowly edged out the Mariners for the second and third positions, respectively.
The USMMA men's basketball team opens up the 2013-14 season November 15-16 at the Admiral's Classic hosted by Maritime (NY). The Mariners first home game will be against Maritime (NY) on November 25 while the conference opener is set for December 7 on the road against Goucher. Merchant Marine's anticipated showdown with rival Coast Guard will be in New London, CT at 6:00 pm on December 10.