PRESQUE ISLE, ME – Under first year Head Coach Dan Kane the 2017-18 University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls Men's Basketball Team will look toward a mix of senior leadership and young talent to try and improve on a 12-11 record from a year ago.
Kane was tagged as the new coach and Athletic Director over the summer and has inherited a team that has been building into some success the past few seasons. Joining him on staff is Florida native Mark Knight and Kristijan Gavrilovski. Knight spent last season as the graduate assistant at Webber International, while Gavrilovski, joined the Owls as a player last season. The junior from Macedonia suffered a career ending knee injury, and looks to start his career in coaching with the Owls.
"Coach Knight has stepped in and made an immediate impact with the team," said Coach Kane. "Knight will assist in all aspects of the men's basketball program, specifically with player development, recruiting, and game preparation. Although we are disappointed to lose Kristjian on the court, we are very lucky to have him on our bench as a coach as he helps to bring a student-athletes perspective."
The Owls' are led and captained by the senior backcourt tandem of Kevin Collins (Fort Washington, MD) and Anthony Chacho (Watertown, CT), along with frontcourt senior Maurice Harris (Miami, FL). Collins was the team's leading scorer last season, averaging 14.7 points per game. Collins shot 40.9 percent from the field, with a 34.9 3-point percentage. As a junior, Chacho showed at times that he can be effective from long range, and after a great offseason will look to prove he is a consistent shooter this season. Chacho averaged 6.5 points per game a season ago. Harris was named to The Association of Division III Independents 3rd Team last season and looks to continue his role as one of the leading scorers for the Owls. Harris averaged 11 points per game last season, and created problems for teams by not only being able to finish at the rim, but also stepping out and hitting the outside shot from time to time.
Kane went on to talk about his captains, "I couldn't ask for a better group of seniors to be leading our team as my first year coaching at UMPI. These three get what it takes to win at the collegiate level and set a great example for our younger guys. I see Mo and Kevin having another great year offensively and while Anthony sets the tone for us defensively, I believe he is going to have a breakout year offensively as he has spent much of his summer in the gym."
Rounding out the returning players is Sebastiaan Boissevain (SO, Hoofdorp, Netherlands). Boissevain did not play big minutes for UMPI last season as a freshman, but did gain valuable experience that will help him contribute this season. "I expect Sebastiaan to have a much larger role this year," said Kane. "He had a great offseason and is an absolute gym rat. With his size, work ethic, and ability to pass and shoot the ball, his upside is tremendous."
Stepping into the guard position for the Owls this season will be Ronkevis Clardy (JR, Willmington, DE), Deandre Duncombe (FR, Port St. Lucie, FL), Travis Simposn (JR, Maple Shade, NJ), Luke Petersen (FR, Perth, Australia) and Tony Duarte (JR, Brentwood, NH). That talented group will look to add to a higher tempo offense then the Owls have seen in the past few seasons.
Other newcomers are Willburn Griffiths (SO, Queens, NY) and Jahvion Lockridge (FR, Grand Rapids, MI) who add length, athleticism, and depth to the Owls. Griffiths has shown the ability to play both the guard and forward position, while Lockridge will add athleticism to the forwards.
Kane went on to talk about his incoming class, "I am really excited about this year's incoming recruiting class. We have a good blend of talent, quickness, athleticism, and length which allows us to the play the pace of game we would like. Many of our first year players are going to be asked to play a big role this year and I am looking forward to seeing how they respond."
The Owls open up the season at Thomas College in the Charlie Ryan Classic Tournament. They will face Pine Manor on November 17th at 7:30 pm, and then Machias on the 18th at 3 pm. Their first home game will be on November 21st as they welcome Husson on to campus. That game will tip at 6 pm. Other home dates include the CAN/AM Tournament on January 4th and 5th, Bowdoin on January 9th, Machias on January 24th, Fisher on January 28th, Fort Kent on January 31st, Unity on February 3rd, and St. Joseph's (VT) on February 10th. The Owls will wrap up their regular season on February 15th at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
For a complete schedule and updates throughout the season, go to www.owls.umpi.edu.