By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops
A brand new season of New England D3 hoops is set to tip-off next week, which means its time to unveil our first Noontime Sports New England D3 Men’s Basketball Top 10 poll of the season.
Similar to last year, our poll will be produced every Monday throughout the season with the help of our Noontime Basketball committee, which is made-up of coaches, athletic communication offices and media members in the six New England states.
So, without further ado, here is our first poll of the 2018-19 season – welcome back, basketball!
Noontime Sports D3 New England Men’s Basketball Poll | Nov. 6th, 2018
2. Williams College
3. Hamilton College
4. Springfield College
5. Middlebury College
6. Keene State
7. Endicott College
8. Nichols College
9. Tufts University
10. Eastern Connecticut
On The Rise: Albertus Magnus, Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Johnson & Wales, Salem State, Wesleyan University and WPI
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Hundely, who is no stranger to the New England D3 basketball world, arrives in Worcester after spending three seasons with the Keene State Owls. Keene State concluded its recent campaign 19-9 overall – the Owls advanced to the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship in February, but fell to Eastern Connecticut State, a program Hundley competed for as a student-athlete.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Hundley to discuss his first-ever head coaching position with the Lancers, as well as his outlook for team’s upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
What interested you in becoming the Worcester State men’s basketball coach?
Worcester State interested me for a number of different reasons. The first being that I know that the Worcester community has a rich and storied basketball history, but also being able to join a community like this one felt like an honor in itself. The investment Worcester State made in its athletic facilities was extremely appealing to me as well and will benefit our program in numerous ways.
Who have been some of your coaching icons over the years that have helped you, both as a player and assistant/associate coach over the years? Do you plan on consulting with them throughout the upcoming season?
I consider myself lucky to have worked with such a variety of coaches with unique coaching styles, dating back to my high school days. Ron Johnson, who is a local high school coaching legend in North Carolina, really sparked my interest in basketball. His attention to detail in coaching and teaching the game was extremely important in my development as a student-athlete, as well as a young coach.
Kevin Kehoe at Cheshire Academy was instrumental with providing me some college exposure, while finding the right college program for me, as well.
Bill Geitner, who I played for at Eastern Connecticut, is one of the best basketball minds I’ve ever worked with in my opinion. I learned so much from him and his sustained success proves how intelligent he is.
Sean Foster gave me my first coaching opportunity at Salve Regina – both he and Matt Adams set the tone that first year, which allowed me to realize that I wanted to pursue coaching as a career.
Aaron Galletta, who is the men’s basketball coach at Lasell College, is a great offensive coach that really helped me look at the game from a different perspective. He also allowed me to speak and have a platform to coach on the fly.
Lastly, Ryan Cain, who is the men’s basketball coach at Keene State– he certainly made a mark on my young coaching career. We both came to Keene State at the same time – it was his first-ever head coaching gig. We hit it off immediately and he really taught me how to recruit, which has become one of my biggest strengths. He truly empowered me, while allowing me to have a lot of responsibility and influence on the Owls’ program. We had a ton of success, especially during the postseasons, which was a testament to the level that we were able to play at, but also the work that we put in, too.
I plan to consult with all of my coaches during the upcoming season, but I see myself consulting Ryan quite frequently, especially in year number one.
What is the most important thing you need to concentrate on heading into your first season with the Lancers?
The most important thing for this season is to build a culture and camaraderie, both on and off the court, while creating a sense of pride for Worcester State basketball.
Do you have a certain basketball philosophy you plan to implement with the team/program? If so, what is it?
I am inheriting a team that gave up over 85 points per game last winter. I have been a part of, as well as learned from some of the best defensive coaches in our region, so our biggest goal (heading into the upcoming season) will be to significantly improve our defense.
What do the next few months look like from a new coaching perspective? How will you get both yourself and the team/program ready to go come mid-October?
I have already begun building relationships with returners and incoming recruits. They need to feel comfortable and confident in me – vise-versa. We will have numerous team activities and fundraisers planned in the fall before October 15th (our first practice day as a team) comes around. I plan to maintain constant communication with our strength and conditioning team to ensure that our team is physically ready to go, so that way we can spend more time on basketball and less on getting their bodies ready for a season. (Also), I will make sure (to use this time currently) to make sure I am well-prepared for my initial season as a head coach.
A few fun questions, beginning with your all-time favorite basketball player: who is it and why?
I was a big Kevin Garnett fan growing up. He was a tremendous teammate and played with passion that seemed to forced his teammates to play at his level.
How much of the NBA Finals have you been watching and who are you cheering for to win this year’s crown?
I’m not a fan of either team that played in this year’s NBA Finals. I really just like to see a good, competitive series. LeBron James is the best player of this generation and is fascinating to watch. On the other hand, the Warriors have the three of the most unique players on the planet in Steph Curry, Kevin Durrant and Draymond Green, who are just as entertaining to watch.
What is your all-time favorite basketball movie?
I’m not a big movie guy, but I really like a lot of the ESPN’s 30 for 30’s, along with their basketball documentaries, too. I see them as learning opportunities.
Finally, what was the greatest advice you were given as a young basketball player that has helped you become a successful student-athlete and coach?
I grew up Davidson, North Carolina and went to multiple sessions at Bob McKillop‘s Davidson Basketball Camp. He was very prominent at his camps and at times would talk to each camper individually. He always seemed to explain things very clearly and helped me improve my basketball IQ.
Welcome to April, New England D3 Lax fans! We have officially made it to the mid-way point of the 2018 season – crazy, right?
With just a few weeks remaining before conference tournaments begin, let’s take a spin around the New England landscape and check-in on every conference.
Stay connected with Noontime Sports lacrosse by following us on Twitter: @Noontime_Lax
Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Endicott College and Roger Williams meet in an important Wednesday afternoon showdown – the winner of this game will most likely be the front-runner for the top seed in the CCC Tournament. Endicott will look to bounce back following a tough loss to Tufts University, while the Hawks will look to extend their winning streak to four games.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Roger Williams. The Hawks boast the best overall record in the CCC and should find a way to not only get past Endicott this afternoon, but also their remaining league foes.
Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): Despite an early season setback to Colby-Sawyer, the Mount Ida College Mustangs have been on a roll, winning eight-straight. They will face Johnson & Wales in two weeks – that game will most likely decide the regular season winner.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Mount Ida – let’s go Mustang City!
Little East Conference (LEC): Plymouth State should remain the favorite in the LEC, but don’t be shocked if Keene State catches up to them. The Owls are currently riding a four-game winning streak, as of early Wednesday (Apr. 4th) afternoon, and will certainly be read for their showdown with Plymouth State in a few weeks.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): As much as I want to pick Keene State, I think Plymouth State will find a way to win the regular season crown.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Westfield State was my initial pick earlier this season, but I certainly wouldn’t overlook Framingham State, which is one of four teams that currently boasts a 1-0 league ledger. The Rams face a tough task this weekend against a talented Bridgewater State squad that is also 1-0 in MASCAC play. A win for Framingham State could certainly be a momentum boost for the Black and Gold, but the Bears should find a way to slow down their rival.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Bridgewater State. The Bears have done quite well outside the conference and should be the team to beat in late April/early May.
New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): At the moment, the race for the regular season crown is wide open, but perhaps this is the year Southern Vermont wins it all? The Mountaineers have appeared in the NECC playoffs the past three seasons and should certainly be a team to watch over the next few weeks.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Southern Vermont. The Mountaineers scored their first win of the season earlier this week over Newbury College and should be able to gain some momentum over the next few weeks, especially with a win over Becker College on Saturday, April 7th.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Middlebury College is clearly the favorite, but don’t count out the following: Amherst College, Trinity College and Tufts University. All three teams certainly has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Panthers, but this maybe the year the Panthers win the conference and go deep in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Middlebury College. As much as I would like to pick Trinity or Tufts, I think the road to a NESCAC crown will go through Vermont.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Babson College scored an impressive win recently over Springfield College, which could help them claim the regular season crown. The Beavers still need to a few more wins to sew up the top seed – one game to circle will be a conference tilt with Coast Guard Academy next Saturday, April 14th. The Bears have been a great story this season, winning eight of nine contests thus far, as of early Wednesday (Apr. 4th) afternoon.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Babson College. The Beavers’ win over Springfield College last month was exactly what the Green and White needed to set themselves up for a successful final few weeks of the regular season.
North Atlantic Conference (NAC): As of now, it appears New England College is the front-runner, but make sure to keep an eye on Castleton University and Husson University over the next few weeks. This conference maybe run currently by NEC, but come tournament time, anything this possible!
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): New England College. The Pilgrims are averaging close tp 15 goals per game – they currently average 14.90 markers per contest. Their offense could provide challenges for Castleton or Husson, but a match-up in the final against Colby-Sawyer could be an interesting one.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Western New England. The Golden Bears seem to be the team to beat in the CCC this spring and should take care of business on Saturday against the Gulls. Maybe they get tripped up down the stretch by Roger Williams or Salve Regina, but the Golden Bears are my pick to win the regular season crown and host the 2018 CCC Tournament.
Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): This is an interesting conference to watch – there really isn’t a favorite. Lasell College captured the GNAC crown last season, but appears to have rebounded from a difficult start. The Lasers boast a 2-0 ledger in league play and can really push ahead for good with a win this weekend over Mount Ida College. The Mustangs are certainly in contention for the regular season crown, as well as Johnson & Wales, Norwich University and Rivier University.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Despite a slow start, I still like Lasell College, especially if they can find a way past Mount Ida this weekend.
Little East Conference (LEC): Keene State will remain the favorite in the LEC, but it will be interesting to watch a few teams over the next few weeks, including UMass Dartmouth, which is riding a three-game winning streak. The Corsairs will meet the Owls this weekend in New Hampshire.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Let’s go with … Keene State! The Owls will secure the top seed. Sure, they may get tripped up once (or twice?) down the stretch, but they will be the team to beat in the LEC postseason.
New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): Dean College appears to be the team to beat in the NECC. They currently boast a 5-3 overall ledger and will begin conference play this Saturday, April 7 when they host Mitchell College at 1 p.m.
All three NECC teams will qualify for the tournament later this month, but as of now, it appears the Bulldogs have the upper hand against Mitchell and Becker College.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The Dean Bulldogs should most likely be the team that hosts the championship game on Saturday, April 28.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): As expected, the NESCAC has been a fun conference to follow this season – a majority of their team’s have continued to appear in our weekly Top 10 poll.
My guess, as of now, is Amherst College will find a way to secure the top seed, but I wouldn’t rule out Tufts University or Wesleyan University. All three teams will meet over the next few weeks, which will help determine the regular season champion.
Keep an eye on Bowdoin College, Connecticut College and Williams College over the next few weeks, as well.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Coast Guard Academy has been the team to watch – can they continue their March momentum this month against MIT and Springfield College? Their mid-week match against the Pride in two weeks will most likely determine the top seed in the NEWMAC.
Springfield has enjoyed another successful regular season campaign, as well. They boast a solid 6-3 ledger, which includes some non-conference wins over SUNY Cortland, Nazareth and Union College.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): I think Coast Guard Academy will find a way to get past Springfield to secure the top seed in the NEWMAC.
North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Once again, New England College appears to be the favorite – I am not sure if Castleton University will catch the Pilgrims, but we shall see.
NEC has rebounded from an 0-4 start with seven-straight wins, including some non-league victories over University of New England, Mount Ida and Norwich University.
Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The New England College Pilgrims will finish its conference slate undefeated and secure the top spot in the NAC playoffs.
In case you missed it: Bates College men’s lacrosse earned some national attention last night by earning the top spot on ESPN’s Top 10 on SportsCenter.
Bates earned the highest spot in the well-known Top 10 highlight package, thanks to a pair of behind the back looks from Brendan Mullally and Matt Chlastawa. The duo connected for an extremely impressive goal from the nearside during the Bobcats’ 21-8 win over Keene State.
Following the conclusion of yesterday’s contest, Chlastawa told the Sun Journal, “It’s nice to mess around out there and have some fun with it. That’s why we’re out here, because we love the sport.”