Men’s Basketball Has High Hoops Hopes

By PORTER BOWMAN

AIDAN ACOSTA/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Panther forward Matt Folger ’20 dribbles around the Bates perimeter. The Panthers defeated the Bobcats 82-76 last February.

Following an exit in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last season, the Middlebury men’s basketball team will look to make a serious run for a NESCAC crown and another NCAA tournament appearance in this year’s campaign.  The Panthers certainly took a hit with the graduation of All-American Jack Daly ’18 as well as experienced forwards Nick Tarantino ’18 and Adisa Majors ’18.  Daly is the program’s all-time leader in assists and ranks third all-time in steals.

Seniors Eric McCord ’19 and Hilal Dahleh ’19 will captain this year’s squad. McCord has been a consistent rock throughout his Middlebury career, and will continue to control the glass and anchor the defense. With toughness as his defining characteristic, Dahleh can execute hard drives to the basket and hit contested shots on the perimeter.

AIDAN ACOSTA/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Guard Perry DeLorenzo ’20 attempts to disrupt a shot against NESCAC rival Bates last season.

Despite losing Daly, the Panthers’ leading scorer from last season, Matt Folger ’20, who averaged 13.7 points per game (PPG) last season, is one of the most gifted scorers on the team and will look to lead the Panthers from both the paint and the three-point line. Joey Leighton ’20 backs up a consistent shot with the ability to run the floor with command and leadership. Perry DeLorenzo ’20 provides tenacious defense and an aggressive game at the rim.

A large sophomore class will continue to provide crucial minutes for the Panther squad. Jack Farrell ’21 started at point guard last season and likely will continue in that role with high speed and the team’s best three-point percentage. Griffin Kornaker ’21, Max Bosco ’21 and Will Ingram ’21 are skilled shooters and defenders who can keep plays alive as aggressive rebounders. Like Folger, Ryan Cahill ’21 is as deadly from the three-point arc as he is on the block. James Finn ’20.5 can run the floor and, like McCord, can clean up around the rim with plenty of rebounds and put-backs.

As for the new class of first-years, Alex Sobel ’22 is a promising big man with unique skill around the rim, and a big presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. Thomas Zodda ’22 is a speedy post player with great offensive and defensive reach alike. Nash Goldman ’22, a skilled three-point shooter, has shown maturity in the preseason with his distribution abilities. Peter Carlson ’22 will provide forward depth around the paint and has shown potential in his perimeter shooting as well.

This season will be Head Coach Jeff Brown’s 22nd year managing the blue and white. He will be joined by returning assistants Russ Reilly and Rob Alberts, as well as new assistant Connor Merrill. 

The team begins NESCAC play in January, and will play host to Connecticut College, Wesleyan, Trinity, Hamilton and Amherst over the course of the season. Away contests include bouts with Bates, Tufts, Williams, Bowdoin and Colby.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.