By Matt Noonan
LEICESTER, MA – Quick hits from Wednesday’s Worcester Basketball Breakfast.
* Every coach expressed his or her excitement for the upcoming season. Some teams begin their campaigns this weekend, while others tipoff next weekend.
* Anna Maria’s men’s head coach Shawn Conrad exclaimed the highlight of his team’s preseason is that they’re undefeated. Last season, Conrad guided his squad to a 14-15 record and a GNAC conference championship appearance. However, the AMCATS lost to Albertus Magnus in the championship, 88-54.
* Sticking with Anna Maria, this year the women’s team will have a new coach and his name is Kevin Bigelow. This is Bigelow’s first head coaching job, but he certainly seems ready for the challenge, especially after spending the past few seasons as an assistant coach with the men’s team and Worcester State.
* Assumption College’s women’s head coach Kerry Phayre talked about her team’s juniors and seniors, who’re all going to play significant roles this winter, while Matt Mahar, the men’s head coach, seemed optimistic about his entire roster. Although, Mahar did say that he hopes to avoid overtime this year. Assumption played six extra session contests last season, but managed to win all of them.
* Becker College’s men’s head coach Brian Gorman talked about the importance of securing rebounds on both ends of the court. The young squad will also be looking for a new leading scorer. Terrence Favors graduated last May and concluded his final season with the Hawks with 497 points in 29 games.
* Don’t sleep on Clark University. Both teams should be competitive in the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference), especially the men’s team that has four graduate students and three seniors.
* Staying in the NEWMAC, let’s not forget the Engineers of WPI. Both teams will be competitive this year and will certainly challenge Babson College, MIT, Smith College and Springfield College.
* Both Worcester State teams are optimistic about their seasons, and hope to conclude their final season on their current parquet with a championship. The college will be building a new athletic center, which is scheduled to open in September of 2015.
* Finally, both Holy Cross teams seem prepared for their difficult schedules. Both teams will be facing some tough non-conference foes, and will certainly have their hands full in the Patriots League, too.