It has been tough sledding for the Castleton Men’s Basketball team this season. After beginning with a promising, if not solid record of 3-2, the Spartans have dropped 17 games in a row, most recently losing at home to Keene State 80-59.
During their skid, the Spartans have averaged just 54.2 points per game on offense and have been outscored by an average of 21.2 points per game. While the numbers might indicate a decline in production or overall efficiency, the fact is: there is more to it than that.
“We’ve lost a lot of players,” said head coach Paul Culpo. “A couple to financial issues, some to injuries, one of our guys graduated early and quite a few guys quit.”
While the accumulation of these issues might be enough to crack a lesser man, Culpo remains determined to improve.
“I don’t want to make excuses, we just haven’t been good enough. I’ve got to do a better job no question about it,“ Culpo said.
But with such a thorough decline from last years 12-14 record, where does one begin when aiming to improve? According to Culpo, it starts with the recruiting process, doing a better job evaluating who is a good fit for the school, academically and financially.
“It’s not hard to get talented players, but the truth is there’s more to it than that.” He said.
As for the rest of the season, nobody is throwing in the towel. The Spartans are determined to do what they can to improve and give it their all for the remainder of the season.
“We have a lot of guys that have never played together before,” said sophomore guard Eric Shaw. “We can improve as a team by working harder and all executing our roles. The goal for the rest of the season is to get better and represent Castleton as best we can.”
At this point, a playoff berth is not possible for the Spartans, and the best record they can possibly finish with is 6-19. But the plan is to finish strong. Culpo insists he would be more than satisfied with the team’s best effort over these next couple games.
“We have three games left. The goal is to play as hard as we can, and if they do that, that’s all I can ask of them.” Culpo said. “I’ve gone through seasons like this at Hartwick, and it’s not easy. For guys to show up everyday, locked in and ready to compete, they’ve earned my respect and admiration. I love all the guys on the team and I’m proud of them for the way they’ve stepped up.”
The Spartans will return to action on the road Saturday Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. against Southern Maine, hopeful to add one to the win column.