2016-17 Men’s Basketball Season Preview


Photo Courtesy of paceuathletics.com

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Pace men’s basketball is eager to step on the court this season with high expectations.

Head Coach Matt Healing wants to see his players have cohesiveness coming off a 9-19 overall season last year.

“Everybody is still jelling together and working hard,” said Healing, who’s entering his second year as head coach.” The things that we preach are working hard, getting better every day, and focusing on the little things.”

Healing is most excited about the roster he has assembled this year, especially the freshman class.

“[Forward/center] Vinny Dalessandro is a freshmen who is 6 foot 7 inches and a tough physical kid, he is probably more physically ready than the other kids,” Healing said.” [Forward] Jack McGuire was having a good preseason for us, he scores in a variety of ways.”

It will fall on junior co-captains Bryan Rivers and Victor Jusino to be the leaders of this young team, which is comprised of 11 underclassmen and has only one returning senior and one graduate student.

Rivers recently played overseas basketball in Italy this summer and Healing believes his experiences will only benefit the team.

“That experience was very good for Bryan, it was a very high level team,” Healing said.”He played with Division I players and coaches, so I think it was good for him and to play with that type of team will only be good for him.”

Jusino has also been impressed with this year’s team.

“We have a more serious culture amongst our players, ” Jusino said.” We have not been very good in recent years, we are changing that. We did not have that maturity last season so I think that it is good we are coming together as a team.”

One of the other players who is helping change that is graduate student Christian White, who transferred from Syracuse University.

Healing has been impressed with Whites’ knowledge of basketball.

“[White] has been tremendous; he is tough, scrappy, and is a leader,” Healing said. “One of the things that I noticed visiting him practice in Syracuse was how those guys reacted to him. [White] was pointing things out to high-level players who are now in the NBA and the listened to him like a coach and he is doing that here with our younger guys.”

Playing well as a unit will be extremely important for the Setters in the early part of the season, especially because of their difficult schedule early on.

“Our schedule is challenging, we start of the season against some tough teams, “Healing said. “We are going down to Florida to play in the Boca Raton Holiday Classic, which will be good for us.”

If the team finds their chemistry early on, then Healing is confident that his team will be able to make a playoff push in the Northeast-10 Conference.