Last year’s 2-23 record was anything but glamorous, but this year proves to be different for the Castleton State College men’s basketball team. Sporting a new coaching staff, and an almost entirely new roster, the Spartan’s look to impress their fans in the upcoming season.
The Spartans come into the season with a brand new head coach, Paul Culpo. Culpo seems like a perfect fit for the job as he came to Castleton from Hartwick College.
At Hartwick, he brought a 2-24 team in 2005 to Hartwick’s first ever ECAC Upstate championship last season. Culpo has also held coaching positions at UMASS-Amherst, Saint Michaels College and under Bill Van Gundy at Genesee Community College.
His coaching experience, along with his style, will be the wind underneath the wings of the Castleton men’s basketball team.
When asked about this season so far, there was no thought in Culpo’s mind.
“The learning process is two-way,” said Culpo. “They are figuring me out, and I am figuring them out.”
Culpo went on to say “I give coach Shipley, along with the returning players, credit for their positive attitudes and hard work.”
Joining Culpo on the bench for Castleton is Assistant Coach Bela Vonnak, a graduate assistant from St. Lawrence University. While at St. Lawrence, Vonnak was a 1,000 point scorer and will bring added knowledge to the post this season.
The one familiar face is second-year basketball graduate assistant, Tim Sparks. Being the only coach who knows the returning players, he will be vital to helping them work well with the new recruits. Sparks proves to have an incredibly positive attitude which will help get the team and the fans fired up.
The Spartan’s look to their five returning players to lead them to victory this season. Returning this season are impact players Seth Harrington and Keith Schneider.
Harrington, a junior from Bennington, Vt, averaged 11.8 points per game and will be looked to on the offensive attack.
Schneider, a sophomore from Benson, Vt, will return as a strong post presence on defense. Schneider averaged 4.2 rebounds per game last season and is expected to exceed that this year.
“I am looking for someone to be a leader on the court,” Culpo said when asked about the returners.
Castleton has a slew of new talent coming in this season. With four transfers and 11 first-year students, the dynamic will be much different.
Looking to do big things for the Spartans are Derrick Faragon, a sophomore transfer from Hudson Valley Community College, Mike Knight, a junior transfer from SUNY-Delhi, Mark Comstock, a freshman from Rutland, Vt, Greg Hughes, a sophomore transfer from University of Vermont, and Jared Paul, a sophomore transfer from Lynn University (Boca Raton, Fla).
Some of the new players have already proven themselves in the pre-season.
“I am expecting a lot out of Faragon and Knight,” said Culpo. “They are both very athletic. If we did not have those two, our athleticism would be a big disadvantage.”
With fresh new talent (both on and off the court) and guidance from returners, the Castleton State College men’s basketball team will strive towards a championship this year. When asked about the season, Culpo said he “expects to be competitive in general, but especially in the North Atlantic Conference.”
Their season opens on Tuesday, Nov. 17 vs. New England College at Glenbrook Gymnasium. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.