NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Coming off a 13-12 record in 2006-07, the Norwich men's basketball team looks to continue its streak of winning seasons. The Cadets have posted a winning record in five consecutive seasons, a feat that had not been accomplished in program history prior to this historic run.
In Jerrold Williams (13.3 ppg.) and Jamel Bedford (9.9 ppg.), Norwich returns its second and third leading scorers from the 2007-08 campaign. Bedford, who will be a senior this year, was also the team's second leading rebounder, averaging 5.4 rpg.
In addition to being the team's Williams, meanwhile, was the Cadets' top assist man a year ago, handing out a team-high 65 assists (2.6 apg.). The senior also topped NU with 48 three-point field goals last season.
Senior Derrick Montiero (4.7 ppg.) also returns to the fold this season. Montiero averaged 2.7 assists per game last season. Mike Filipek (5.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg.) is back this season as well, and should see increased action this season as a junior.
"Our goal each season is to compete for the GNAC championship," says Norwich head coach Paul Booth. "Given the talent that we have returning and the newcomers that we have been able to bring in, we fully expect to fight for the league crown and participate in the NCAA Tournament."
The keys to accomplishing these goals, according to Booth, is offset the losses of all-conference performers Rene Cheatham and Scott Dupont. Last year, Cheatham led the Cadets in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.8 ppg., and 8.7 rpg. He also led the squad with 56 steals. Dupont, meanwhile, was a steady contributor, who averaged 5.2 ppg., and 5.3 rpg., a year ago.
In order to compensate for those key losses, Booth has brought in an exciting class of recruits that includes talented freshmen Jaren Jeffcoat, Chris Gaither, Erik Williams, Dirk Cionci and Jeff Rowett.
"Both Rene and Scott were a big part of what we accomplished last season" says Booth. "We need to adjust our style accordingly in order to maximize the talent that we have on our roster this season. Look for us to use our athleticism on both ends of the court in 2007-08."
The Cadets open their season on the road November 16 at Wheaton College.