#108 Vermont Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Vermont Catamounts

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #108
Conference Rank: #1 America East

Vermont Team Page#108 Vermont Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Vermont Basketball Tickets

Vermont had yet another solid season in 2012-2013. It did end in disappointment as the Catamounts fell to Albany in the America East tournament and were then knocked out of the CBI in the opening round at the hands of Santa Clara. This year Coach John Becker has a deep and talented team and failing to win the regular season title would be a bit of surprise. Once again it will be Brian Voelkel leading the way. The 6-6 senior is one of the most unique players in the country. He is not much of a scorer, but he does everything else extremely well. Last season he led the team with 8.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. Not many can do that.

2012-13 Record: 21-12, 11-5
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: John Becker
Coach Record: 45-24 at Vermont, 45-24 overall

Who’s Out:
Trey Blue is the biggest loss for Vermont. He averaged 8.6 points per game and was the most prolific three-point shooter on a team that struggled to shoot. The hope is the newcomers and younger players can step up and connect on more than the 33.0 percent that Blue shot from long range. The only other departure is Ben Crenca, a 6-10 center who failed to crack the regular rotation as a senior.

Who’s In:
Freshmen Harrison Taggart, Kurt Steidel, Dre Willis and Nassir Williams will add depth to the wings and the backcourt, but it is a couple transfers that are expected to make the biggest impact this year. Hector Harold is an intriguing prospect. The 6-7 forward is a capable scorer, but he never really found his shooting touch during his two seasons at Pepperdine. He is athletic enough to play on the wing and has the ability to stretch out the defense when playing power forward. It remains to be seen exactly where he will fit in with Vermont, yet he has to start knocking down shots if he is going to fit in much at all. Ryan Pierson spent two seasons with Northeastern and will eventually provide some quality depth in the paint. He is a tough 6-10, 240 pound center that Vermont could use. However, a leg injury will delay his Catamount debut until probably January or February.

Who to Watch:
Clancy Rugg, Luke Apfeld and Ethan O’Day will fight it out again for the two starting frontcourt jobs beside small forward Voelkel. Rugg had a breakout junior year, leading the Catamounts with 11.4 points per game. He has a decent mid-range jumper and can stretch that out beyond the arc on occasion, but he is more productive picking up offensive rebounds and getting easier buckets around the basket. Apfeld has a more dynamic offensive game and shot 37.3 percent from beyond the arc in 2012-2013. O’Day will stay in the paint and he could turn into a very productive player after a promising freshman campaign. He is the team’s best shot blocker, but also an efficient interior scorer. As a freshman he let others shoot most of the time and that could change now. With Harold and, eventually, Pierson joining the fray, Vermont has a very deep and talented frontcourt. They may not be the biggest bunch and they can get pushed around by stronger opponents, yet with the help of Voelkel, they should be the best rebounding team in the America East.

Final Projection:
The potential problem lies in the backcourt. Sandro Carissimo is a good scoring point guard with a decent enough outside shot to keep the opposition honest. He can make things happen, yet tends to hesitate to take over a game. After averaging 10.0 points and 2.3 assists, the senior will be ready to take on more of a leadership role. Josh Elbaum is a defensive stopper and an experienced backup for Carissimo. Without Blue, Candon Rusin and Brendan Kilpatrick could see an increase in playing time, or at least will be asked to be more productive. Rusin shot under 30 percent from beyond the arc and under 40 percent from the floor during his first season with the Catamounts after transferring in from Marist. Rusin does not have to be a great outside shooter, yet somebody needs to start knocking down more long balls and he is the best candidate. Vermont can win the conference title with Rusin and Kilpatrick tallying similar numbers as last year, but they could dominate the league if they find a shooter.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Sandro Carissimo, Senior, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Candon Rusin, Senior, Guard, 7.5 points per game
Brian Voelkel, Senior, Forward, 6.0 points per game
Luke Apfeld, Senior, Forward, 10.7 points per game
Ethan O’Day, Sophomore, Forward, 6.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.5 (268th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.2 (28, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (146, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (76, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (306, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.9 (117, 3)
Rebound Margin: 4.4 (47, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (271, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (131, 4)


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