When it comes to the Farmingdale State men’s basketball team, its strength is in its numbers.
The Rams return 13 players from last year's team that went 16-4 in the Skyline Conference, won the regular season conference title for a second consecutive season and fell in the semifinals of the playoffs.
“I feel that our depth is one of the best aspects of our team,” Farmingdale State coach Brendan Twomey said. “We like to get everyone involved in the offense. I'll usually have five or six guys that average 10-14 points per game.”
Farmingdale State will be led by its three senior captains, George Riefenstahl, Matthew Graham and Ali Mabelton.
Riefenstahl was named to the All-Skyline Conference first team in his junior season, and led Farmingdale State in scoring (14.1 points per game), field goal percentage (.575), rebounding (10.2 rebounds per game) and blocks (44).
“We are looking for him to continue where he left off at the end of last year,” Twomey said. “He has done a good job of leading on and off the court.”
Graham started every game for the Rams during his junior season and led the team in three-point field goal percentage (.355) and free-throw percentage (.873). Mabelton had a team-high 72 assists.
A team that will look to challenge the Rams for a conference title is SUNY-Old Westbury. The Panthers earned the final spot in the Skyline playoffs last year, before falling in the first round.
Alan McDonald and Yancy Ulysse are back for their senior seasons and will provide stability in the Panthers’ front court.
McDonald was an All-Conference Second Team player in his junior year and led SUNY-Old Westbury with 14.6 points per game. Ulysee was first on the team in rebounding with 7.4 per game.
Two Long Island freshmen will be a part of the Panthers this season. Mike Snowden, the former Copiague High School standout guard, will compete for playing time, and so will former Lawrence Woodmere guard Andrew Buskey.
“I have been really impressed with all of our newcomers,” SUNY-Old Westbury coach Bernard Tomlin said. “They are starting to mesh together, and more importantly, they seem to like playing together.”
St. Joseph’s (L.I.) and USMMA return a few key players as well.
James Walsh and Seth Barnes will look to build on the success they had in their freshman seasons at USMMA, and Frank Basile will provide a majority of the scoring for the Golden Eagles.
Molloy's in front
In the Division II ranks, the Molloy men’s basketball team will rely heavily on junior Nick Corbett, and senior forward Curtis Jenkins.
Jenkins and Corbett helped the Lions earn the final spot in the East Coast Conference playoffs last season. Molloy fell in the semifinals after defeating LIU Post in the first round.
Corbett was named to the All-East Coast Conference first team and led the Lions in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game. Jenkins was named the East Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season, and led the team in rebounding (6.9 per game), assists (94), and steals (76).
“We have the capability of going very small or very big,” Molloy coach Charles Marquardt said. “We have a lot of depth, and our adaptability could surprise our opponents this season.”a
Nassau has Suffolk's number
Nassau CC handed Suffolk CCC its only three losses of the season last year.
Patrick Gardner and Cheyenne Nettleton are the two returning starters from last year’s NCC team that finished 28-5, and fell in the finals of the NJCAA DIII Ccampionship.
Gardner, a sophomore forward from Calhoun High School, was NCC’s third leading scorer, averaging 13 points per game. He also led the team with eight rebounds per game. Nettleton, who attended South Shore High School, averaged 15 points per game his freshman season.
The dynamic duo of Steven Tynes and Tyler Hammond in the backcourt should help Suffolk CCC contend once again for a playoff spot in the NJCAA.