After only winning four games while losing 22 last season, the men’s basketball team said this year they will be an improved group —despite being without their two top scorers from a year ago.
Khalil McDonald and Jeremiah Mordi, who combined to average nearly 30 points per game last season, finished their Queens College athletic careers.
But the Knights are equipped for the upcoming conference season with eight new players and seven returning players.
Returning forward and team captain Patrick Piasecki hopes with the new additions to the team, the Knights will be a force to be reckoned with in the East Coast Conference.
“We have a fresh group of guys and are ready to compete,” said Piasecki. “We plan on going to the top this year.”
The Knights were ranked eighth out of the 10 teams in the league in a preseason conference poll. The team will rely heavily on new recruits — both freshman and upperclassmen.
“They definitely add depth and character to the roster,” said head coach Kyrk Peponakis.
Incoming transfers Kevin Nascimento from Genesee Community College, Patrick Parker from Alfred State and
George Holmes from Suffolk Community College, bring experience, depth and flavor to the team.
Holmes, a junior guard/forward, has certain expectations for his debut season as a Knight.
“I expect us to win, improve throughout the whole season and hopefully outwork the other teams in the conference,” Holmes said.
Transferring from a distinguished basketball program at Suffolk, Holmes has the steady maturity that the team lacked, said Peponakis.
Along with these transfers, the Knights also recruited five freshmen.
Freshman guard Luke Mercurio, Hampton Bays, N.Y., is a high-energy, tough and physical guard, according to the head coach.
“He is a good defender and makes the open shot. He just needs more collegiate experience,” said Peponakis.
After an uninspiring 0-4 record against non-conference opponents to start the season, the Knights are working on building on their strengths and “fixing” their weaknesses.
“Fall down seven times, stand up eight,” said Holmes.