Despite losing key offensive players, Coach Paul Culpo has high expectations for men’s basketball squad this season.
“The team looks great. Everyone has been working hard. It is a great group to coach,” Culpo said.
The Spartans held a 15-12 record last season, and they made it all the way to the North Atlantic Conference semifinals. The team returns with a solid nucleus, including junior Mark Comstock, who led the team in scoring last season, averaging 14 points a game and shooting .520 from the field.
Senior point guard Greg Hughes also returns. Hughes was one of two players to start all 27 games last season and averaged 6.8 points per game, leading the team with 61 assists and 40 steals.
In addition to his eight returners, Culpo has seven incoming players.
“All the new players are coming along. Mark Pryzblkowski has a broken hand so that has limited him, but everyone else is learning and growing,” Culpo said.
Hughes agreed with his coach about the new players’ progress.
“The freshmen are looking good and are excited to be a part of this year’s team. It seems like all of them have a good chance of doing well this year,” Hughes said.
Hughes is eager for the season to start and said the team, despite lacking size, is using its strengths to its advantage.
“This year is going to be different than any other year at Castleton. We are small and using that to our advantage. Run and gun,” Hughes said. “I think our biggest weakness is going to be our biggest strength, shooting. If we are on, then we are good. If not, it could get rough.”
Culpo said the team will play a lot more man-to-man this season than they have in the past.
“The size of teams doesn’t factor into what we do. We worry about ourselves and try to impose our will on the opponent,” Culpo said.
The Spartans tied for fourth in the pre-season coaches’ poll, but Culpo believes his team has a good chance at making it all the way to the NAC championship.
“We have been very close both years I have been here, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t be a factor,” Culpo said.
The Spartans opened their season on Tuesday Nov. 15 and will play their first home game on Saturday Nov. 19 against Worcester.