The Spartans lost the final four games of their 2018-2019 campaign, leaving their final record at a disappointing 3-22.
“It’s certainly been a challenging year,” said senior forward Ben Mrowka. “Considering that we have dealt with a great amount of adversity I think the guys have handled most of it well. Having some key players quit or step away (for various reasons) accompanied by injuries obviously made life difficult for us, but the way I see it, every team goes through times like that so its not an excuse.”
While the remainder of the Castleton men’s basketball season did not go as well as the team might have hoped, according to Mrowka, there is still reason to be proud.
“This has given some of the guys a real chance to show the coaching staff what they can do, so there are certainly some benefits, especially in the case of Casey (Belade), Igor (Almeida) and Mike Morgan,” Mrowka said.
Mrowka has a point. Many of the non-graduating individuals on the team showed evidence of the ability to play at a high level during this disaster of a season.
Junior forward Casey Belade had the highest average points per game for the Spartans (10.8), while sophomore Mike Morgan recorded 30 points in a 94-62 loss to Western Connecticut this season. Sophomore guard Eric Shaw also showed flashes, scoring double-digit points in eight games this season.
“We have high expectations for Calvin Carter and Eric Shaw,” head coach Paul Culpo said. “Both guys suffered injuries this season so we didn’t get to see them play to their potential. Igor Almeida is another guy to watch for. He stepped up for us this season and we’re excited to see what they can do for us moving foward.”
As a senior, Mrowka was playing in his final games in February. Yet, in his eyes it was not about him, but rather about setting the tone for the future of the program.
“My main goal right now is to continue to be a role model for the team and try and help teach the guys as much as I can. I am quite a confident individual so hopefully I can instill that sort of mentality to the guys moving forward.” He said.
If the team does adopt this mentality, certainly there is enough going for the team to improve next season. After all, according to the players, coach Culpo has already instilled a no-excuses-accepted policy.
With strong coaching and plenty of young talent, it is only a matter of time before the Spartans rebound.