PRESQUE ISE, ME – The 2016-17 University of Maine at Presque Isle Men's Basketball team returns nine players from a team that qualified for the USCAA National Championship a year ago. The additions of three key players have the Owls optimistic for this year's campaign.
Seniors Nick Lenhard (Falcon, CO) and Derek Healy (Hanover, MA) lead the backcourt group. Lenhard started every game for the Owls last year, and he led the team with 2.5 assists per game and added 6.6 points per game. Kevin Collins (JR, Oxon Hill, MD), Anthony Chaco (JR, Watertown, CT), and Jordan Gillespie (SO, Bingham, ME) also return and look to fill bigger roles this season. Collins started 20 games season and was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 points per game. Chacho started five games a season ago and shot 53% from the floor, including 38.1% from the three-point line. Joining the mix is Kristijan Gavrilovski, from Gostivar, Macedonia. The sophomore adds size and athleticism to the guard position for the Owls, who look to replace their lone senior and leading scorer from a year ago.
The frontcourt personnel also will be led by the experience of two seniors, Jordan Cook (Saffron Walden, UK) and Kim Collins (Oxon Hill, MD). Both of those players came off the bench last year, with Collins averaging five points a game, and Cook playing just over ten minutes a game. Quinton Harris (JR, Florence, NJ) and Maurice Harris (JR, Miami, FL) return from last year's squad. Maurice Harris averaged 10.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game last season, while Quinton Harris saw most of his time in a reserve role, adding 5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Two fresh faces join the Owls' big men this year, Ebby Kamara (JR, Toronoto, ON) and Sebastiaan Boissevain (FR, Hoofdorp Netherlands). Both young men stand at 6'8" and will add much needed size.
Head Coach Mike Holmes said, "The more complex the system, the greater advantage you generate with experienced players. Conversely, the more difficult it is when the team is young. So, from an experience standpoint, we should be poised to be competitive."
Holmes enters his third season at the helm of the program. The Owls finished their regular season play at 13-11 a year ago and earned their first ever berth to the USCAA National Tournament. They open their season on Tuesday, November 15th at Johnson State, with tip off scheduled for 7:30 PM. After a trip to Husson University on Saturday, November 19th (2 PM) the Owls open their home schedule on Wednesday, November 23rd, a 2 PM tip off against Central Maine Community College. UMPI adds a new opponent this year, and will travel to Orono to play the University of Maine on November 26th.
"With the team we have," Holmes said, "I felt it would be beneficial to really up the ante in regard to opponents. We need to find out if we can be competitive with programs of high reputation in the area. If that leads to a few more dents in our armor, so be it."
Other home dates include Unity (Dec. 1, 7 PM), Colby (Dec. 7, 7 PM), New England Baptist (Dec. 10, 1 PM), Alfred State (Jan. 7, 1 PM), SUNY Delhi (Jan. 14, 2 PM), Berkeley (Jan. 15, 2 PM), and Maine Machias (Jan. 25, 7 PM). They will face Aroostook County rival Fort Kent twice this year, at Fort Kent on November 28th at 7 PM, and to finish off their home slate and regular season schedule, on February 12th at 2 PM.
For a complete schedule and the latest updates throughout the season, follow all UMPI athletics at owls.umpi.edu.