Men's Basketball Looks to Shock the Polls
After finishing 8-12 in their first year in the MAAC last season, the Mount looks to continue to build this year. The Mount’s men’s basketball team finished last season on a strong note. That however did not translate into a predicted strong finish this year as the MAAC coaches poll predicted MSMU to finish seventh in league play.
Although their predicted finish may not be high, a player that could help them end their season above that is Dakota Leffew. A senior, Leffew has spent all four years at the Mount and was selected to the MAAC’s preseason first team.
With the Mounts 2022-23 third team all-conference point guard, Jalen Benjamin, who transferred to Santa Clara University, Leffew and others will be tasked with picking up the role of scoring buckets. Coach Dan Englestad has already commented on Leffew’s role this season, claiming that he is much stronger and more ready to drive into the paint.
Another player to watch out for this season is George Tinsley, a graduate student in his second year with the Mountaineers. Tinsley’s is being talked about by MAAC coaches this season as being the most undervalued player in the conference. Averaging 7.2 points per game last season, he will also be called upon to step up the scoring this year.
The Mountaineers also have a trio of returning big men this year. Although junior, Jedy Cordilia and senior, Frantisek Barton are two returners with the most experience, redshirt-sophomore Dola Adebayo may have the most growth on the court. Coach Englestad said that he expects Dola to make a big jump. “The game has really slowed down for him on both ends.”
Englestad also said that he is most looking forward to all the hard work this offseason paying off. He believes this will be possible because of the team that they have this year. “We have a really good blend of veteran players, but our key is young players developing to get ready for conference play.” Engelstad stated.
The Mount started their season with a double overtime win against Bucknell in a exhibition game that supported Coach Patrick Behan who recently stepped down from his coaching job due to his battle with ALS. The game itself helped support the Behan Strong Foundation.
MSMU’s first regular season game takes place on Nov. 7 against Maryland, before playing their first home game on Nov. 11 against Coppin State. Their first conference game is against Manhattan on Dec. 1.
Their non-conference schedule features some recent regulars in seasons past such as American and Howard, but also includes Georgetown on Nov. 18, Ole Miss on Dec. 5, Loyola on Dec. 9 and Georgia on Dec. 20.