Basketball season is fast approaching at Cabrini College and the men’s basketball team is ready for any challenge that is thrown their way this season. Last season, the men’s team came extremely close to a national title, playing in their first NCAA championship game, but falling in heartbreaking fashion to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 63-60.
The result of this has made expectations higher this time around and raised the bar for the players and the coaches to get back to the finals to bring back a championship and first place title.
Senior A.J. Williams is looking forward to this new basketball season and what he’s looking to gain from his last year of playing is “working with the new guys and coming together with the entire team and using my success from the past two years to bring home another championship.”
The point guard has a lot a pressure put on him this year since most of the plays revolved around last year’s point guard Cory Lemons “but this is my time to step up and be a leader for my team.” Williams said. With so close to winning last year it was “heartbreaking, but now it is only motivation for this year to win against our toughest games,” Williams said.
Sophomore Howard Blake III is new to the team this season – one of seven new members of the three-time defending CSAC champions – but has always been close with the players on the basketball team. The shooting guard is definitely excited for his first year of being a part of this program.
“I can see the team that has been built has a lot of talent and depth and I cannot wait to see the outcomes of their hard work if we all keep the same mindset,” Blake said. “If the freshmen on the team continue to work hard the sky is the limit for any of us and we will be able to bring back a championship and that’s something I would like to be a part of.”
Saleem Brown is a seventh-year assistant coach at Cabrini College and has been helping the Cabrini’s men’s basketball team gain better skills and lead them to success throughout the years.
“I played basketball and since my days are over I figured it would be beneficial if I help the team and teach them what I was taught,” Brown said.
Last year the team made it extremely far with a record of 31-2 thanks to the help of Saleem, four-time CSAC Coach of the Year Marcus Kahn and the other coaches who have contributed with their hard work to better the team.
“I think A.J. Williams will be our starting point guard this year because he was there from the start,” Brown said. “He would start behind one of our best point guards of all time, so A.J. knew over the years what was expected of him.”
When Brown was asked about the incoming players he replied that “all the freshmen are talented in their own way and are on the team because there is something unique about them that give each of them a spot to be a part of the basketball team.”
As for the returning players to the men’s basketball team, Brown said they will be better than last year “because I told each returning player what they need to focus and work on during the summer to prepare for this upcoming season, so during this year we should be more complete as a team.”
The men’s basketball team plans to have the same plays as the year prior with only a few variations of the older plays, to turn them into brand new plays.
“Our basketball team’s chemistry was excellent last year, and hopefully with the new recruits we will be able to win it all this year,” Brown said. “By starting off the year with new recruits, our chemistry won’t be where it was last year because of the new additions, but that leaves room to grow for the middle of the season where our team’s chemistry will be greater than where it was last year.”
Brown had and still has a lot to bring to the table for the team and is looking extremely forward to this year’s season and the strong points and any areas the team may need to improve on.