Record: 3-17 (1-6 at home)
The 2011-2012 season was one of transition, growth, and development for the UMPI men's basketball team. 1st year head coach Jim Casciano came to the Owls with the goals of building a sound foundation upon the tenets of discipline, work ethic, and chemistry. A team that returned only two players who had played any significant minutes the previous season learned how to compete and gain the respect of their opponents. The team played arguably its best basketball of the season in February.
"At that point (the final six games of the year) things were starting to fit together in all aspects of the game," said Coach Casciano, "and individual players began to step up and play with confidence. Throughout the season we showed a great deal of character, a never give up attitude, and an improvement of individual skills. As a team we formed the bonds of trust and respect that are necessary if you are going to be successful."
Other thoughts from Coach Casciano:
What aspects of the TEAM improved as the season progressed?
Jim Casciano: We were able to be competitive for 40 minutes, we were able to better execute our multiple defensive system, and we were also able to balance our scoring from transition to half court execution. Our mental toughness and character continued to improve over the course of the season. You could see that the players had an excellent understanding of what it takes to win.
Are there any INDIVIDUALS that impress you and/or stepped up their games?
JC: Patrick Manifold (Jr./Great Yarmouth, ME) was a key player for us from day one and he provided us with an inside presence both as a scorer and as rebounder. He was a leader for us. Brad Trask (Jr./Easton, ME) became the scorer that I felt he could be by being aggressive on the offensive end. Aaron Hutchins (So./East Millinocket, ME) continued to impress me as a spark plug off the bench with his scoring and energy. Gerardo Vasquez (Jr./Houston, TX) became more off and on the court leader capable of playing both guard spots. Kyle Corrigan (Jr./Caribou, ME) was a key player for us at the point guard position and we were certainly a better team when he was on the floor for us. Michael Warner (So./Norwich, UK) became one of the best 3 point shooters in the country while developing into an all around player.
What are some characteristics/instances that you feel defined this year's squad?
JC: Toughness, character, never quit attitude, hard workers, eager to learn.
Brennen Morton (Guard / Chapachet, RI)
The undersized 3-point specialist contributed some big buckets late in the season. On Senior Day at UMPI Morton started and knocked down a pair of treys at shot 75% from the floor. The next game at Colby College, he continued his hot hand hitting 3-6 from behind the arc, finishing with a season-high 11 points.
Loren Fawthrop (Forward / Amherst, Nova Scotia)
Fawthrop served as the first post player off the bench for the Owls this season. He averaged 2.5 rebounds per game while averaging under 18 minutes a contest.
With a solid core of returning players and the experience of a veteran recruiter at the head of the program, the future looks bright for UMPI men's basketball. The transition to an "independent" schedule in 2011-2012 resulted in lopsided home game/road game splits. A more balanced slate for 2012-2013 in terms of both home games and level of competition could lead to more success in the imminent future for the Owls.
"Each of our returning players must improve their game-skill development, shooting as well as gain strength and work to improve their over-all conditioning. The second thing that we need is to have an excellent recruiting class that will provide us depth, size, and athleticism. Practices will then become more competitive and we can take the next step in the building of the program."
-- Owls' coach Jim Casciano