Tag Archives: D3 Hoops

Catching Up With Brandon Linton (Nichols College Men’s Basketball)

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Brandon Linton was recently named the 20th men’s basketball coach in Nichols College program history. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

Last month, Nichols College announced the hiring of Brandon Linton, who becomes the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.

Linton arrived at the Dudley, Massachusetts campus after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Army West Point where he helped the Cadets with numerous tasks, including scouting reports to working with the wing players at practice to assisting with in-game strategy.

Before assisting the Army West Point men’s basketball program, Linton spent time as an assistant at both his alma mater, Clarkson University, and Bowdoin College.

Coaching a program like Nichols certainly intrigued Linton, who is excited “to continue building on what has already been established” with the Nichols men’s basketball program.

“The chance to take over a program that represents excellence, both on and off of the basketball court was important to me,” said Linton when asked about becoming the new men’s basketball coach at Nichols. “Also, the growth potential of the program was equally intriguing, (as well).”

Nichols concluded its 2018-19 season with an impressive 28-3 mark. The Bison advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament earlier this year, thanks to postseason victories against Amherst CollegeMiddlebury College, and Rowan University.

Additionally, Nichols also captured the 2019 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title with a 105-90 victory over Gordon College.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Coach Linton to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season.

As a former Division III, men’s basketball player did you always want to coach or become a head coach at this particular level? 

Absolutely.  I had the great fortune to play for Adam Stockwell during my first three years at Clarkson. I remember sitting in his office as a freshman and sophomore, and him telling me that I would be a college basketball coach one day.  Prior to that, I had casually thought about the idea of it, but after (those conversations) I began to own that reality. Everything I’ve done since was aimed at this goal of becoming a Division III head coach.

What do you know about the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)? Are you excited to coach in a very competitive league? 

I’m extremely excited to coach in this league.  I know that it is made up of high-level coaches that have built some of the best and most competitive programs in New England.  The talent across the board is impressive and something that I notice has improved since my departure from Division III.  This is a conference that I believe should be a multiple bid league to the NCAA tournament (every season). I look forward to the challenge of being in that mix.

How did your experience with Army West Point shape you into the coach you are today? 

I couldn’t be more grateful for my time at Army.  The development that I was able to take part in both on and off of the basketball court was truly remarkable.  It is the preeminent leadership development institution in the world. From the faculty to the cadets and all the variety of guest speakers that came through West Point, it truly was a hub for leadership development.

Basketball-wise, being able to coach at the Division I level just provides an amazing amount of time that you get to spend coaching and teaching the game to your players.  We also fielded a junior varsity team at West Point, which allowed us as (to gain experience) being a head coach as assistants to the varsity. More than anything, being around the people day in and day out was the number one takeaway that I believe will shape me into the coach I am and hope to be.

Great coaches are great leaders. And great leaders are great people first.

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Coach Brandon Linton inherits a Nichols College men’s basketball team that finished the 2018-19 season with an impressive 28-3 record. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

What are some of the biggest goals/objectives you (and the men’s basketball program) hope to accomplish between now and the team’s first practice? 

The biggest thing will be developing the framework for meaningful relationships with each other. That is from new staff to players and vice versa. It will also be amongst the current players as well. Acclimating the newcomers into the fold, while also continuing to develop even stronger bonds with your returning teammates (will be a must, as well). That will be our biggest focus prior to our first practice on October 15th.

A few quick-hitters, beginning with your all-time favorite memory of playing basketball. 

Without a doubt, it has to be back in 2008 when I was a part of Clarkson’s first-ever Liberty League (LL) championship. We advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a fourth-seed in our conference’s tournament, which made it even sweeter.

Legitimately, no one believed we could get it done because there was honestly no prior reason to think so, but only the individuals in our locker room believed (we could win a conference championship) and that’s all that mattered. It’s something that has stuck with me ever since (and proves what) the power of belief can accomplish.

Who was a player you idolized growing up? 

Tracy McGrady. Unfortunately for me, my teammates and coaches, however, I played nothing like McGrady, but when I got to college, I really enjoyed watching Rajon Rondo when he first started playing for the Boston Celtics. I enjoyed watching Rondo as a student-athlete with the Celtics – he was a big part of their resurgence. I played the point for Clarkson and I really respected how he played that position. And that’s probably why my three-point percentage was what it was, too.

Finally, if you could coach any basketball player, both current or past, who would it be and why? 

Growing up in New York City, I was and still am a big fan of the New York Knicks. We’ve fallen on hard times for a good 15-20 years, however, as a kid, there were some awesome teams for me to follow.

I fell in love with basketball by watching John Starks play.  I would always wear his number (three) whenever I could in youth tournaments and recreational leagues.  The passion and swag that he played with was everything to me. He embodied what it meant to be a New Yorker, as well. He was hard-nosed, did whatever it took for the greater good of the team, and took the challenge of guarding the best players on the other team. He also jacked three-pointers, too, which was still a newer thing for the game during the 1990s.

John Starks is definitely someone I would love to coach.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage by following @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter! 

Catching Up With Sara Binkhorst (Wheaton Women’s Basketball)

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Sara Binkhorst was named the new Wheaton College women’s basketball coach last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brown University Athletics) 

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Sara Binkhorst is excited about her new job – she was recently named the new head coach of the Wheaton College women’s basketball program last month.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Binkhorst when asked about becoming the eighth head coach in program history.

“From the moment I stepped onto campus (as a candidate for the women’s basketball head coaching role) I was welcomed by the Wheaton community and the supportive (athletic) department, so I really am looking forward to all the things to come.”

Binkhorst arrives in Norton, Massachusetts after a successful four-year stint as an assistant coach with the Brown University women’s basketball program where she helped the Bears capture a pair of Ocean State Tip-Off Tournaments in 2017 and 2018 while assisting the squad to a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in 2017.

With Binkhorst, the Bears finished above.500 three times, including this past winter, while also competing in the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where they defeated the University of Maryland Baltimore County (81-75) in the opening round before falling to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (87-84).

Binkhorst speaks fondly of her time at Brown, including what she learned from head coach Sarah Behn, who welcomed her to the coaching staff a few months after she graduated Bowdoin College.

Said Binkhors, “I will always be grateful for Sarah Behn for taking a chance on me (as a recent college graduate) and developing me (into the coach I have become). Brown was an unbelievable experience and it definitely helped me prepare (myself) for what I am excited to do at Wheaton.”

Being able to coach the Lyons will certainly bring back some fond memories of competing for the Polar Bears from 2011-2015 for Binkhorst, who flourished under the direction of current Bowdoin head coach Adrienne Shibles. As a member of the Bowdoin women’s basketball program, Binkhorst earned a pair of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first-team honors while also being named the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Year in 2015.

In 2015, Binkhorst guided the Polar Bears to the NCAA quarterfinals – she averaged 14.4 points and 3.1 assists per game that season – and also became the 14th player in program history to net 1,000 points in her final regular-season contest against Tufts University.

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“Brown was an unbelievable experience,” Binkhorst said when discussing her past four seasons as an assistant with the Bears women’s basketball team. (Photo Courtesy: Brown University Athletics)

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Binkhorst to discuss her excitement for coaching Division III basketball, as well as what she will be doing over the next few months to prepare the Lyons for a successful 2019-20 campaign.

On becoming a D-III coach: “I am a true believer in a Division III experience. I played at Bowdoin and had an unbelievable experience playing for one of the greatest coaches, Adrienne Shibles, so I am a firm believer in what Division III promotes between the balance of athletics and academics. I love Division III and wanted to get into coaching after I graduated from Bowdoin (in 2015), and was extremely fortunate that I landed at Brown. I learned so much from that experience, including how to recruit high-academic student-athletes, which is similar to the type of students I competed with at Bowdoin.

I (always) knew I wanted to become a head coach (after I graduated Bowdoin), and I wanted to return to the Division III world, (so landing at Wheaton is a dream come true).  It is an unbelievable school that competes in a really competitive Division III conferences – I think (the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) is one of the best in New England. Additionally, knowing the possibility of how to recruit regionally and nationally to a school like Wheaton is very exciting.

On competing in the NEWMAC: So, we competed against a few schools in the NEWMAC when I was playing for Bowdoin, but I have a great deal of respect for the conference and coaches. I feel really humbled and honored to be taking over a program to compete in the NEWMAC against some unbelievable coaches that have great traditions of success. I think the Wheaton program will continue to work hard to establish itself as one of the premier programs in the NEWMAC and we’ll obviously begin (this process) once we convene on campus this fall.

I am really looking forward to our first day of practice, being in the gym with our team and start competing, so we can (reach our goal) of becoming a championship program.

On preparations for the upcoming season: First and foremost, (the most important goal) is getting to know the women on our team. I have been able to have some great conversations with all the women on our team – I look forward to continuing (our dialogues) this summer, too – but I am really looking forward to getting to know our players and build relationships with them.

When everyone is on campus, I look forward to getting together and discussing the culture that we’re going to build collectively.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

Noontime Sports New England D3 Men’s Basketball Top 10 (Jan. 7th)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

With another busy week (and weekend) of New England D3 Hoops in the books, it is time to unveil our sixth men’s basketball Top 10 poll, which once again finds Williams College in the top spot followed by Hamilton College (second) and MIT (third).

Both Babson College and Amherst College moved-up, along with Gordon College, while Brandeis University joined this week’s poll after scoring their first conference win.


Noontime Sports D3 New England Men’s Basketball Poll | Jan. 7th, 2019 

1. Williams College

13-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Hamilton College   13-0, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
3. MIT  12-1, 2-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 3
4. Nichols College  11-2, 3-1 CCC Last Week: No. 4
5. Gordon College 13-1, 5-0 CCC Last Week: No. 9
6. Middlebury College 10-4, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 5
7. Babson College  9-4, 2-0 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 8 
8. Amherst College 10-1, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 10 
9. Brandeis University 8-3, 1-0 UAA Last Week: Not Ranked
10. Endicott College  9-4, 2-2 CCC Last Week: No. 6

On The Rise: Albertus Magnus, Colby College, Eastern Conn., St. Joseph’s (Maine), Wesleyan University and Western Conn. 


Previous Polls: Preseason | Week One | Week Two | Week ThreeWeek Four | Week Five


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage by following @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter Today! 

 

Noontime Sports New England D3 Women’s Basketball Top 10 (Jan. 7th)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

Another BUSY weekend of New England D3 Hoops is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our sixth poll of the 2018-19 season, which finds Bowdoin College in the top spot followed by Amherst College (second) and Tufts University (third).

This week, we welcomed MIT and Eastern Connecticut to our 10 team poll with the Engineers and Warriors checking-in seven and eighth, respectively.


Noontime Sports D3 New England Women’s Basketball Poll | Jan. 7th, 2019 

1. Bowdoin College

12-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 1
2. Amherst College 11-1, 1-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 3 
3. Tufts University 12-1, 1-1 NESCAC Last Week: No. 2
4. St. Joseph’s (Maine) 12-0, 0-0 GNAC Last Week: No. 4
5. Middlebury College 12-0, 2-0 NESCAC Last Week: No. 6
6. Babson College 10-2, 4-1 NEWMAC Last Week: No. 5
7. MIT 9-3, 3-1 NEWMAC Last Week: Not Ranked
8. Eastern Conn. 8-3, 4-0 LEC Last Week: Not Ranked
9. UMass Dartmouth 10-3, 3-1 LEC Last Week: No. 8
10. Emmanuel College  8-3, 0-0 GNAC  Last Week: No. 9 

On The Rise: Smith College, Springfield College, Southern Maine, Trinity College and Worcester State 


Previous Polls: Preseason | Week One | Week Two | Week Three| Week Four|Week Five


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage by following @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter Today! 

 

D3 Hoops: 10 Games To Watch (Jan. 4-6)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

Happy Friday, New England D3 Hoop Fans!

Let’s kick-off a brand the first weekend of 2019 with a brand new edition of Noontime Sports‘ 10 Games to Watch.

Last weekend, we finished 9-1 to boost our overall record to 21-9 this winter. Let’s see if we can go 9-1 or 10-0 this weekend with our picks – we are remaining humble, we promise!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and remember to stay connected with @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter for in-game updates, news, scores and more!


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Matt Morrow and Nichols College hosts Gordon College on Saturday in Dudley. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

Wesleyan University at Williams College (Friday, Jan. 4th at 7 p.m.): The Ephs remain the team to beat in New England, but if they are going to continue their recent success, they must find ways to outlast their upcoming opponents, including Wesleyan on Friday evening. PREDICTION: Williams College 

Southern Vermont at Dean College (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 1 p.m.): The Mountaineers head into the second half of their 2018-19 schedule with some momentum – they have won five-straight meetings dating back to early December. SVC currently has six players on its roster, including Donnell Frayer Jr., who are averaging 10 points or more through 10 games this season. PREDICTION: So. Vermont 

Worcester State at Salem State (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 1 p.m.): The Lancers are flying under the radar at 7-6 overall, but will need to play their best basketball against a Vikings squad, which capped the month of December with a trio of wins, including a 114-112 double-overtime win against Colby-Sawyer. PREDICTION: Salem State 

WPI at Babson College (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 2 p.m.): Jack Coolahan‘s late triple on Wednesday evening highlighted his team’s exciting conference win over Springfield College. The win should provide the spark these Beavers need heading into another important conference clash with the Engineers, who have dropped three-straight. PREDICTION: Babson College 

Gordon College at Nichols College (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 3 p.m.): This game could come down to free throws, along with second and third opportunities on offense. Both teams play great defense, too. We think whoever wins this contest will win by at least two or three points – maybe five. PREDICTION: Nichols College 


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Lauren Bondi and the Smith College women’s basketball team host MIT in an important conference clash on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Smith College Athletics)

Middlebury College at Conn. College (Friday, Jan. 4th at 7 p.m.): Middlebury enters tonight’s clash with a ton of momentum, thanks to Maya Davis, who has enjoyed her best season with the Panthers by averaging career-highs in points per game (13.1) and rebounds per game (7.7). Look for the Milton native to lead the Panthers to an important conference win this evening. PREDICTION: Middlebury College 

Roger Williams at Endicott College (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 1 p.m.): The Gulls scored an important conference win on Thursday over Western New England, so expect that momentum to continue on Saturday in the battle of the birds. Endicott’s Emily Pratt has enjoyed a very successful junior season and should certainly be a player to watch in this match-up. PREDICTION: Endicott College

MIT at Smith College (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 2 p.m.): MIT ended the month of December with some momentum, thanks to a recent win over TCNJ. Can they continue their current momentum against Lauren Bondi and the Smith Pioneers on Saturday? PREDICTION: Smith College

Bowdoin College at Tufts University (Saturday, Jan. 5th at 3 p.m.): This could be a preview of the 2018 NESCAC Championship. Both Bowdoin and Tufts enter the second half of the season undefeated, along with aspirations of continuing their momentum over the next few weeks and months. PREDICTION: Tufts University 

Hamilton College at Trinity College (Sunday, Jan. 6th at 2 p.m.): Two days after Trinity hosts Amherst College, the Bantams will attempt to wrap-up the weekend with at least one win, possibly two wins when they host Hamilton. This is an important game for both teams, who look to remain in the hunt for a NESCAC crown. PREDICTION: Trinity College 


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