NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich men’s basketball team wrapped up their 2009-10 season with a .500 record of 13-13, having gone 8-10 in conference play. They controlled the game on their home court in Andrews Hall, winning 8 of 12 contests played at Norwich.
Head coach Paul Booth enters his 18th season at the helm of the Cadets’ 2010-11 program and has a promising, experienced squad taking the court. Having graduated only two seniors, Booth returns his top four statistical leaders.
Josh Cabrera will captain the Cadets this season. According to Booth, Cabrera is high-achieving, both academically and athletically and “embodies everything a captain should be” by setting a high standard for his teammates and making decisions based on the wellness of the team, not just the individual.
One of the focuses for the Cadets’ 2010-11 campaign is consistency. “Last year we proved we can play with anyone in the league on any given night,” says Booth. “We want to become more consistent throughout the season, raise the bar to the level of play regardless of the opponent.”
As can be expected, the goal is to challenge for the GNAC Championship and win a berth to the NCAA Tournament. “Given our talent and experience I expect we will be in the mix” Booth stated, “however in all our years in this league this may be the best year in terms of parity. We are going to have to play well every night to achieve our goal.”
This season will be the first time a core group of guys have been able to play together in maroon and gold for two or three consecutive seasons.
“We had a young group last season, young in a lot of ways,” says Booth. “From the experience factor, we hope to mature to play consistently on the road as well as at home.”
Booth is excited about many of his returning athletes, including Cori Boston, who transferred to the team last season. “We’re excited about having Cori for a full year,” says Booth. “We have a full preseason with him and to get him in game shape.”
Booth expects Jaren Jeffcoat to be a leader on and off the court. Jeffcoat played over 600 minutes last season, averaging 13.3 points a game. He earned a .695 free-throw percentage and average 5.6 rebounds per contest. Jaren stepped up in a lot of tight games last season. For us to get to the post season we will need him to have a good senior year.”
Two other upper classmen that will impact the season are junior
Antonio Davis and Ryan Williams. Davis, 6-6 post
player, led the team with 7.9 reb per game(which was good for
5th in the GNAC and was the third leading scorer at 11.8
per game. “Antonio has really evolved as person and as
a player. He epitomizes what Norwich Basketball is
Williams, a 6-2 guard from Texas had a tremendous first year in Northfield. He was 9th in the conference in 3point shooting percentage at just under 40% and was fourth on the team in scoring at 11.5ppg. “Ryan has NBA 3 point range and really stretches the defense. He allows other to be better players because defenses must pay a great deal of attention to his perimeter shooting”
And then there is the captain, who is returning from a red-shirted sophomore season. “Cabrera is a cerebral type of player,” says Booth. He’s not a guy who is going to be getting 25 points a game, but we will win because of him. He’s a jack of all trades. He doesn’t necessarily excel in any particular category, but he is very good in a lot of them. His injury really impacted our team-I am very glad to see him back in uniform.”
The Norwich Cadets will officially begin their 2010-11 campaign on the road at Southern Vermont College, tipping off at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15.