Season Preview: Men's Basketball Looks to Find Right Mix

Monday, November 14, 2011
 

Women’s basketball preview

When Justin Greenstone returned to his off-campus house after working the chains at the Muhlenberg-Dickinson “Snow Bowl” football game two weeks ago, he found his old car totaled, the roof buckled by a fallen branch.

“I guess the weight of the snow and all the leaves on the branch took it

Spencer Liddic
Liddic broke a 40-year-old record for points scored in a season last year and enters his senior campaign 16th on the CC's all-time rebounding list.
right down,” he said.

For sure, the right combination of

Justin Greenstone
Greenstone started seven games as a junior and recorded 40 assists (fourth on the team) with only 15 turnovers.
elements can topple anything off a high perch. Greenstone and his teammates on the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team hope they can find that mix in their 2011-12 season, which begins tomorrow night at Moravian.

Despite missing the Centennial Conference playoffs last year, the Mules were picked second in the preseason poll, behind two-time defending champion Franklin & Marshall.

“I think we have all the pieces,” said Greenstone, one of only two seniors on the team. “We have great young talent along with some great leadership. It’s just a matter of if we play tough and play together.”

It will also be a matter of living up to the team slogan of “NOW,” which according to Greenstone has multiple meanings. It can stand for “never outworked,” and it also conveys the notion that the team needs to live for the present and play and practice its hardest all the time.

“For Spence and I, this is the year,” Greenstone said.

Spence is senior captain and preseason All-American Spencer Liddic. The forward was an All-CC first-team selection for the second consecutive season last year after leading the league in both scoring (20.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 per game).

Joining him in the frontcourt is sophomore Kevin Hargrove, who set a school record for blocked shots (70) in his rookie season while averaging 9.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Junior Hunter Forsman and sophomore James Albano will be valuable reserves at the forward spots.

Greenstone, junior Matt O’Hara and sophomore Austin Curry return in the backcourt. O’Hara led the Mules in assists (71) and steals (19) last season, while Curry averaged 12.7 points per game and led all CC freshmen in scoring and three-pointers (48).

Joining the team is a talented group of newcomers, at least two of whom figure to be in the starting lineup. Blending the veterans with the rookies will be a key to the team’s success.

“Some people might say it’s a hard thing to do, but everyone has been great,” said Greenstone. “It would be different if these guys had big egos, but in the end we know we’re one team, one unit, and we all want the same goals. Our chemistry has never been better.”

Muhlenberg opens with an intense schedule that includes six games and two tournaments in the first 13 days. After opening at Moravian and hosting the Scotty Wood Tournament this weekend, Muhlenberg begins CC play at Gettysburg next Tuesday and travels to Gallaudet for a tournament Thanksgiving weekend.

“It will be interesting to see how the young guys react,” said Greenstone. “We’re throwing them into the fire right away.”