CLAREMONT, Calif. - The 2018-19 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Men's Basketball team looks to defend their eighth championship in the past 10 years a season ago. It marked the 10th title for the Stags since the start of the new century.
With the departure of five seniors from 2017-18 SCIAC Championship team, Head Coach Ken Scalmanini says this younger squad will build their own identity. "The 2018-19 CMS Men's Basketball team will be an old-school style Stags Basketball team. A balanced team approach to defense. Different players stepping up each game. Practice since the start has been highly competitive to say the least, and the young team is getting familiar with The Stag Way."
Coach Scalmanini begins his 21stseason at the helm of the Stags Basketball team and said that this team is a little different than the previous. "A lot more teaching, it's highly enjoyable. I have a willing group but we are starting a little bit more from scratch to a degree and I really like the young class; the willingness is there. I am a little anxious about it but I am very excited for the year."
Coach Scalmanini continued. "The new and returning players have shown without a doubt that they understand the expectation that comes with playing Stags Basketball. I am excited for the fans to see us take the court this season." Scalmanini is currently the winningest coach in CMS history, surpassing CMS coaching legend David Wells' total career wins (324) during the 2016-17 season and currently standing at 356.
The Stags have one returning starter from a year ago. Junior guard Miles President, who spoke about the state of the 2018-19 Stags. "Last season's postseason run was a great experience for us. We lost a lot of guys, but we have a lot of new faces that are going to step up and help fill those roles and hopefully we get back there this year."
The Junior from Chino Hills continued. "It's a brand-new season. You got to put in the work and start over. We spent preseason practice integrating everyone in to our system and finding out what roles people are going to play. We have a lot of guys willing to work hard, move the ball round, and have a very selfless team here so it should be a fun year."
President continued about his expectations. "There will probably be more pressure on me to score this year, with the loss of our senior scorers from last year, but we're excited to see what happens."
Stags Basketball has won 20 SCIAC titles entering the 2018-19 campaign, which is more than any other conference school in the 59 years CMS has participated in the SCIAC. The next closest team has won 12. CMS has won more SCIAC games than any other conference opponent. Indeed, no other SCIAC team has approached the recent success of Stags Basketball.
CMS Men's basketball begins defense of their SCIAC title as they open the 2018-19 schedule in Chicago at the prestigious University of Chicago Midway Classic Tournament on Saturday, Nov.17.
With that in mind, let's preview the 2018-19 Stags Basketball roster that looks to continue a winning tradition. The defending SCIAC champions were picked to finish 4thin the conference, which could be an indication that those around the conference expect the Stags to be reloading going into the season.
Ryan Kusch (HMC, Forward) appeared in 19 games, his third season with CMS Basketball, making one start in 2017-18. Kusch shot 41.2 percent from the field and 80.0 percent (4-for-5) from the free throw line. He gives the Stags the luxury of both a wing and inside forward who could be thrusted into a starting role this season. He also gave the defense a shot in the arm late games during the course of last season.
Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi (CMC, Forward) appeared in nine games during his second season with CMS Basketball, and shot 46.9 percent from the floor, and 81.8 percent from the free throw line (9-for-11), grabbing a total of 17 rebounds. He returned from a one-year hiatus in 2017-18 to play the small forward position and brought with him his ability to drive the basket from the baseline or the top of the key.
Mark Sui (CMC, Guard)appeared in 21 games making one start, his third season with CMS Basketball, and shot 45.5 percent from the field. Made 10 field goals including three from three-point range, going 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Collected 22 rebounds and dished out 13 assists alongside seven steals. He gives Stags basketball a reliable and consistent boost as the back-up point guard needed to run the potent offense last season.
Jeremy Horn (CMC, Center) has appeared in 41 career-games over his Freshman and Sophomore seasons. Last season, Horn averaged 6.2 minutes per game, appeared in 25 games for CMS, and shot 55.4 percent from the field. He made 36 field goals and shot 70.0 percent from the free-throw line. He has shown tremendous growth in his ability to score and defend at the post.
Maxwell Kirsch (CMC, Forward) appeared in all 28 games last season, making two starts. Kirsch shot 92.3 percent (24-for-26) from the free-throw line, and averaged 2.3 points per game along with 41 total rebounds (1.5 per game). He came off the bench to relieve as power forward and brought the most energy with him onto the court.
JD Levine (CMC, Guard)appeared in 11 games last season, making one start. Levine shot 46.7 percent from the field, made seven field goals including three from three-point range. Levine provided depth off the bench at the point guard position and has the ability to knock down the three-point shot.
Kele Mkpado (CMC, Forward) appeared in 10 games for the Stags, made for field goals including two from three-point range. Mkpado grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists, and posted two steals. He has averaged 4.6 minutes per game. Last season, he came off of the bench at the wing position and could drive to the basket or knock down a three-pointer.
President (HMC, Guard)started in all 26 games he appeared in last season. President shot 50.0 percent from the field and led the team at 48.8 percent from three-point range. He made 79 field goals including 39 three-pointers, 85.7 percent (36-for-42) from the free-throw line. He averaged 9.0 points per game and 29.6 minutes per game. Has started all 54 of his career-games played with CMS, and displayed his strength both offensively and defensively at the guard position throughout last season.
George Walker (CMC, Forward) appeared in four games for the Stags, made two field goals and grabbed two rebounds. The Washington, D.C. native has played in nine career-games with the Stags.
Mitchell Kirsch (CMC, Guard) appeared in 28 games, making one start during his Freshman season. Kirsch posted a career-high 16 points and nine rebounds on February 20, 2018 at Cal Tech. Chukwueloka Oti (CMC, Guard) appeared in 11 games as a Freshman, grabbing eight rebounds, and averaging 3.4 points per game. Jack Peterson (CMC, Guard) out of San Diego, CA, appeared in five games for the Stags, grabbing two rebounds.
Finally, the Stags welcome six Freshman to the 2018-19 roster: Guard/Forward TJ Askew (CMC, Santa Fe HS, CA), Forward Carter Ingersoll (CMC, Etowah HS, GA), Forward Sam Johnson (CMC, Spring Lake HS, MI), Guard Charles Meng (HMC, Archbishop Mitty HS, CA), Guard Alec Sinek (CMC, Troy HS, CA), and Forward Luke Webb (CMC, Chaminade HS, CA).
The 2018-19 Stags basketball team opens their season in Chicago at the Midway Classic on Nov. 17-18. Facing the University of Chicago at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. against either Ohio Wesleyan or Springfield.
CMS Men's basketball season continues with the Wells Classic as Northwest Conference rivals Whitman and Willamette come to Claremont over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 27-28). Featuring an exciting two games of Division III basketball.
The Stags begin SCIAC play at Roberts Pavilion against Sixth Street Rival Pomona-Pitzer on Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m.
The full 2018-19 Stags Basketball schedule can be found here.