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MEN'S BASKETBALL READY TO ROLL IN 2000-01

(Posted November 28, 2000)

The Juniata College men?s basketball team will head into the 2000-01 season this coming Saturday and Sunday with the annual Adelphia/Doc Greene Tournament hosted by the Eagles. The blue and gold hoopers will take on Stevens Tech on Saturday at 3:00 p.m., while Penn State-Altoona matches up against Staten Island in the first outing on Saturday (1:00 p.m.). The championship game of the tourney will be at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, while the consolation tilt tips off the day at 1:00 p.m.

Head coach Rick Ferry, who enters his fifth year at the helm of the Eagle program is looking forward to the new campaign. "We have a great group to work with this year at Juniata. They are coachable, work very hard and are enthusiastic about the upcoming year."

Juniata is coming off a 3-21 overall season and 1-13 mark in the Commonwealth Conference, and seven players are back from that unit. However, there are a total of 13 freshmen in the Eagle program this winter, including seven that will be listed on the opening day roster.

"I can't say enough out the leadership of our upperclassmen, especially Nathan Hager who is our team captain," said Ferry. "He has been through a lot in our program from his freshmen year until his final year here, and this time around he is going to have another cast of fresh faces to work with."

Hager (Franklin/Franklin), a forward, is primed to make this year, "his season". A quiet role player for his first three years on campus, Hager has methodically produced 10 points and four to five rebounds per game throughout his entire career.

"We are not a big team, but we have quickness and the ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor, so we need to concentrate on the things we do well to win ball games," said Ferry. "A lot of our offense will come from perimeter play. Defensively, we are going to pressure the ball a lot and try and take some of the inside game of our opponents away by putting pressure on the ball at all times."

Junior forward Dave Reddick (North Hills), who has proven in the past that he can take over a game at the offensive end of the floor and on the boards, is back after posting 10.2 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds a game as a sophomore. He led the Eagles in scoring five times and in rebounding 16 of Juniata's 24 contests last winter.

The 1999-00 starting backcourt tandem of point guard Shane Crandall (North Allegheny/Doylestown), a junior, and shooting guard Brian Dietrich (Wilson/Wyomissing), a junior, is back in the fold. Crandall drilled a team-best 54 three-pointers and passed out 52 assists last year, while Dietrich drained 38 treys and was an 80-percent shooter from the foul line.

Freshman forward Ben Gallagher (Butler/Butler), who is a slasher and a scorer, should complete the opening day lineup along with Crandall, Dietrich, Hager and Reddick, has impressed the coaching staff during preseason workouts and should have an immediate impact on the program.

Senior guard Pat Sowerby (South Allegheny/Glassport) is an excellent three-point shooter and is at his best in a half-court game. He will look to log minutes in such situations and is capable of bringing a team out of its zone defense if on target.

Freshman guard/forward Jeff Lau (York Catholic/Glen Rock), freshman guard Chris Adie (Delaware Valley/Milford, NJ) and freshman forward Josh Tyler (Bellwood-Antis/Altoona) are three others newcomers that will give the Eagles an extra boost.

"The new players have been getting better and better with each practice and a lot of our success will depend upon how quickly our younger talent develops.," said Ferry. "The veterans should be able to shoulder the load in the beginning of the year, but as the season moves along I will be expecting more consistent production from the freshmen."

2000-2001 JUNIATA MEN?S BASEKTBALL SCHEDULE

Nov. 18- Stevens Tech& 3:00 13 Widener* 3:00

19 Penn State-Altoona/Staten Island& 1/3:00 15 at Penn State-Altoona 7:00

21 at Pitt-Greensburg 8:00 17 at Susquehanna* 8:00

29 at Albright* 8:00 20 at Elizabethtown* 3:00

Dec. 2 Moravian* 2:00 24 Albright* 6:00

5 at Lebanon Valley* 7:30 27 at Moravian* 4:00

7 Grove City 8:00 30 Lebanon Valley* 8:00

9 at York (PA) 2:00 Feb. 3 at Drew 3:00

21 Villa Julie 7:00 7 at Messiah* 7:00

Jan. 2- at Springfield (MA) TBA 10 at Widener* 3:00

3 Tournament TBA 14 Susquehanna* 6:00

10 Messiah* 7:00 17 Elizabethtown* 4:00

&Adelphia/Doc Greene Tournament

*Commonwealth Conference game

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.