Green Mountain prepared to kickoff 2015-16 season

Courtesy of GMC

Men’s basketball team sets sights on the NAC Championship Tournament

POULTNEY – The Green Mountain men’s basketball team comes into the season with a lot to prove despite taking a large step forward in 2014-15. The Eagles are coming off a campaign last year which saw the team double its win total from the previous year, finishing with an overall record of 8-16 and a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) mark of 7-11 placing them eighth overall.

Last year’s fast-paced offense tallied 73.4 points per game to finish mid-pack in the conference. The Eagles were terrific on the offensive glass finishing amongst the top three teams in the NAC and led the conference in blocks with great weak side help. The team struggled, however, with possession as it turned the ball over at a high clip and was amongst the worst in the league converting its opportunities at the free throw line.

Second-year head coach Anthony Leonelli was encouraged by last year’s performance, but realizes there is still work to be done.

“Last year’s approach helped to establish our team culture,” said Leonelli. “This year we are going to take a more results-oriented approach. Nine exciting incoming players added to our returners who garnered a great deal of experience last year make us believe this group has a high ceiling.”

This year’s squad looks to improve upon the positive growth showed last year and do something the men’s basketball team at Green Mountain hasn’t accomplished since 2009-10: make the NAC Championship Tournament.

That effort will begin in earnest on Saturday, Nov. 14 when the Eagles kick off the regular season at the Keene State College Tip-Off Tournament against the host Owls at 5 p.m. Last year’s eight returners will be joined by a bevy of incoming transfers and freshmen.

The team will continue with its mantra of ‘Run GMC’ – a high-octane offense that emphasizes getting up and down the floor quickly and putting pressure on opposing defenses to keep pace over the course of 40 minutes.

The hunger of the returners to build on last year’s success mixed with the amount of new blood that has been infused into the team this year has the Eagles primed for a breakout season. Collectively, the team mindset, “All we got….all we need” will be tested early to see if that is indeed the case against a tough Keene State squad.

After opening this year at the tip-off tourney at Keene St., and a pair of non-conference game at Lesley on Nov. 18 and John Jay on Nov. 21, the men play their NAC opener on the road against Colby-Sawyer on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The Eagles will host Thomas College in their home opener on Friday, Nov. 4.

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