Lyndonville, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon men's basketball team will open the 2018-2019 season by hosting the first annual Northern Vermont University Tip-Off Classic on Thursday and Friday. The Hornets are looking to rebound from a 2017-2018 campaign which saw them finish with a 2-22 overall record, including a 2-16 mark in North Atlantic conference play.
The Lyndon roster includes seven returning players, headed by sophomore guard Ricky Shuford (Prattville, AL), senior co-captain Corey Frost (Hamden, CT), and junior forward Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, MA). Shuford played in 15 games a year ago and averaged a team best 16.9 points per game. He also led the Hornets in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and assists per game. Frost is a four-year Hornet. He was the team's top free throw shooter last year. Gabriel averaged 8.2 rebounds per game, best on the squad.
The Hornets welcome many new faces on the roster, including nine freshmen and two transfers, co-captain Damon Denteh (Jamaica, NY) from SUNY Delhi and Timothy Hoar (Shelburne Falls, MA) from Becker College. The freshman class is led by a pair of All-State players from New York, Zach Falkenburg (Kirkville, NY) of Chittenango High School and Luke Fredsell (Whitesboro, NY) of Westmoreland High School.
Senior CJ Jimmy (Modesto, CA), junior Neal Mulligan (Marshfield, VT), and sophomore Kenan Hajdarevic (St. Johnsbury, VT) also return from last season. Senior Kevin Love (Bristol, CT), who has played parts of each of the last three seasons for Lyndon also returns to the team. Freshmen Colby Bucknam (Brunswick, ME), Phillip Lafond (South Easton, MA), Dylan Torello (Port St. Lucie, FL), Kyle Cary (Selkirk, NY), Benjamin Emerson (North Haverhill, NH), Rian Hayman-Jones (Glover, VT), and Nicholas Canzano (Ipswich, MA) complete the roster.
Veteran head coach David Pasiak enters his second season at the helm of the Hornets. This season will mark his 35th overall and his 20th as a collegiate head coach. Pasiak shared the following thoughts on the season: "We have many new faces and a totally different atmosphere and vibe around our team this year. Both our veterans and our newcomers have made great strides in building our culture around strong foundation based on our core values of representing the program in a positive manner, respecting everyone and everything, working hard every day to get better, and being great teammates who put team first. I'm excited to see that translate into growth on the court over the course of the season and I look for us to be much improved."
The Hornets have been picked to eighth in the NAC 2018-2019 pre-season coaches poll. Husson University was picked to take conference honors, followed by the University of Maine at Farmington. The predicted order of finish is:
- Husson University
- University of Maine at Farmington
- SUNY Canton
- Thomas College
- University of Maine at Presque Isle
- Northern Vermont University-Johnson
- Maine Maritime Academy
- Northern Vermont University-Lyndon
For a complete preview of the 2018-2019 NAC men's basketball season click HERE.
The Hornets will face Vermont Technical College in the opening round of the NVU Tip-Off Classic. Tip-off is set for 5:30 pm on Thursday evening in Stannard Gymnasium. NVU-Johnson ant the College of St. Joseph will square off at 7:30 pm in Thursday's second game. On Friday, NVU-Johnson and Vermont Tech will meet in the 5:30 pm opener, while the Hornets will face CSJ in the 7:30 pm nightcap.
The Hornets will begin NAC play on November 30th, when they host conference favorite Husson.