A team that should have been ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason poll but only received 11 points is Plattsburgh State. The Cardinals made the Sweet 16 last year and ended up in the #24 spot in the final D3hoops poll. Massey had them at #15 in his final poll. Plattsburgh is coming off consecutive 20 win seasons and went to the NCAA tournament in both of those years. They won a 1st round game 2 years ago and then lost at Amherst to the Lord Jeffs to finish with a 20-9 slate. Last year they beat MIT 76-53 in the 1st round and then defeated Eastern Connecticut 70-60 to reach the Sweet 16. They lost at Amherst once again to end their season with a 24-6 record. Interestingly, MIT (#16 with 246 points) and Eastern Connecticut (#36 with 37 points) are both ranked higher than Plattsburgh State in the preseason poll yet Plattsburgh has more returning talent than either of these teams. Pat mentioned to me, in a post over on the SUNYAC board, that he didn't receive any info back from Plattsburgh and I assume that's the reason for the Cardinals low point total. No team in the East Region has been to the NCAA tournament more than Plattsburgh State (6 appearances) in the past 9 years and the Cardinals have won 20 games 5 times in the past 8 seasons. Both of these indicate a successful program and under Coach Tom Curle's leadership they have proven to be among the top schools in the SUNYAC conference and the East Region more often than not.
Not many schools can lose 3 starters to graduation and yet claim to return 5 starters. Due to an odd set of circumstances that is exactly the situation that Plattsburgh has this year. And only 4 of those 5 returning starters will start and possibly only 3 will start.
In addition to the 2 starters that return from last year's team the Cardinals return 3 players that started 2 years ago.
One of those players, 6'6" senior forward Ezra Hodgson, started 26 of 28 games 2 years ago but last year became the team's 6th man for the most part and only started 12 games. Ezra enters this year with 594 career points and has averaged 8.6 ppg the past 2 years. He had 27 points against MIT in last years NCAA contest. He is a 40% shooter from 3 point range (made 46 last year, 40 the year before), 47% from the field and 81% from the line. He averaged 11.1 ppg for the final 17 games last year. He averaged 17.1 ppg in the SUNYAC tournament and made the All-Tournament team. His ability to hit the clutch shot down the stretch has been huge for the Cardinals in a number of games the past 2 years.
A 2nd former starter that returns for his senior season is 6'2" guard Jordan Moody. Jordan played in 6 games last year but had to take a leave of absence from the team due to an internship he needed for his studies. Jordan started 5 of those 6 games and was averaging 11.8 ppg. The previous year as a sophomore he started 23 of 29 games and averaged 10.0 ppg. He shot 49.5 % from the field 2 years ago and 53% in the 6 games last year. He has the quickest 1st step on the team and can get to the rim easily with his speed and athleticism.
The 3rd former starter that returns for his final year is 5th year senior Reggie Williams. Reggie is a 6'6" 240 lb forward who is returning from a medical redshirt that saw him miss the entire 2013-14 season with a fracture in his foot. 3 years ago Reggie started 25 of 26 games as a sophomore. His junior year Reggie was asked to be the 6th man and occasional starter which he did until the Cardinals lost another player to a season ending injury. Reggie started the final 6 games of the 2012-13 season and averaged 10.0 ppg with 5.2 rpg. He was the 2nd leading shot blocker in the SUNYAC conference with 1.4 bpg.
The top returning scorer for the Cardinals is 6'2" senior shooting guard Shamoy McIntosh. Shamoy has started 52 of 56 games in the past 2 years and will go over the 1000 point mark in the early part of his final season with the Cardinals. Last year he averaged 12.9 ppg and 4.0 rpg. He shot 36 % from the field, 33% from long range (42 3's last year) and 76.4% from the line.
The other returning starter from last year is 6'1" junior guard Eddie Correa. Eddie started 25 of 30 games last year and averaged 10.9 ppg and 2.6 rpg. He is the top 3 point shooter on the team as he had 81 3's last year after making 31 his freshman year. Eddie shot 36.2% from the field and 37.5 % from 3 point range. He was 82.9% from the line. I expect him to improve on all those numbers this year after seeing him at practice the past few weeks.
So there's the 5 returning starters, 4 of whom averaged double figures, and the one that didn't, Hodgson, at 8.6 ppg, is capable of being the leading scorer on the team this year, as he will start, instead of coming off the bench, as he did for most of last year.
One of the above mentioned guards, either Correa or Moody won't be starting this year because the back-up point guard for the past 2 years, 5'7" senior, Mike Mitchell, will be the floor general this year. Mitchell has only started 3 of 57 games in the past 2 years but has averaged 17 minutes of floor time and is ready to direct the Cardinal offense. He averaged 5.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 1.5 apg last season. He is a superb passer and also an excellent 3 point shooter in his own right. He had six 3 pointers at Cortland last year to lead the Cards in that win and was the most accurate 3 point shooter on the team as he canned 31 of 70 attempts from long distance for a 44.3 percentage. Mike had double digits in points on 6 occasions last season. He shot 46.4% from the field, 70% from the line and had 129 assists the past 2 seasons off the bench.
Bench players returning:
Xavier Thomas...6'2" junior guard/forward who has the highest vertical leap on the team. Had 148 points (4.9 ppg) and 108 rebounds (3.6 rpg) in 30 games off the bench last season. Xavier averaged 12 minutes a game and tied for the team lead in blocks. Had a career high 21 points and 12 rebounds at Buffalo State last year. He hit the weight room big time over the summer and will see more action this year.
Alan Siergiej...6'6" senior forward who is the blue collar worker on the team. Played in 28 games last year and averaged 2.4 ppg and 1.5 rpg in 7 minutes of court time per game. Shot 60% from the field and 73.7% from the line. Does all the little things to help the team. Had a season high 14 points against Fredonia State and scored 10 points in the NCAA game against MIT.
Gary Tibbs...6'4" senior forward who returns to the team after sitting out last year. Has played in 47 games for the Cardinals with 4 starts his sophomore season. Has a career average of 2.3 ppg and 2.1 rpg. Averages 50% from the field.
Vaughn Dweck...6"4" sophomore forward who saw limited action last year. Appeared in 10 games and averaged 1.6 ppg. Has improved his game over the summer and his shooting ability will be an asset.
Owen Mitchell...6'4" sophomore who also saw limited action last year. Appeared in 12 games and averaged 0.8 ppg. Owen also is progressing nicely and will see an increase in his floor time this year.
Kyle Richardson...6'4" junior forward who transferred to Plattsburgh from Division II Millersville University could also find himself in the starting lineup as he will push the returning Plattsburgh veterans. He started 10 of 27 games for Millersville last year and averaged 5.4 ppg and 2.9 rpg. Scored 24 points and 20 points for season highs. Very athletic and a good rebounder. Was 2nd on the Millersville team in blocked shots with 30.
Tyler Coppin-Carter...6' 2" sophomore guard who is another transfer that will get meaningful minutes in the Cardinals backcourt.
Zach Coleman...6'2" freshman guard who will be groomed to take over the point guard position from Mitchell. He will also get some quality playing this year.
I think this year's Cardinal team could be better than last season's 24-6 team. Last year they averaged almost 78 ppg and despite losing 34 ppg through graduation they will return over 70 ppg because of their unique situation. I expect 4 players to average double figures and it wouldn't surprise me if 5 double digit scorers emerge. There will probably be at least a 10 man rotation that will see double digit minutes as the Cardinals have the talent to come at you in waves. I believe they are the team to beat in the SUNYAC conference after just missing out last year and finishing 2nd to Brockport State. The previous year they were 2nd to Cortland State. The SUNYAC had 3 teams receiving points in the preseason poll which I'm fairly sure hasn't happened in the past. The Cardinals were ranked behind Brockport and Geneseo in the poll and I expect those 3 teams to battle for conference supremecy. It will be another interesting year in the conference to say the least.
Plattsburgh traveled to Vermont on Saturday to take on Division II St. Michaels College in a scrimmage. They defeated the Purple Knights by a 4 point margin.
Sorry for the long post, I wanted to give Pat, Dave and any other Top 25 voter who checks out this board the correct information on Plattsburgh State, since they apparently didn't get much info from the school to form an opinion about the team.
And yes I'm slightly biased but I noticed some chatter about other posters' favorite teams and saw they were out there plugging away.