Men’s basketball gears up for the 2008-2009 season

Looking for a sleeper pick to take home the America East basketball championship this season? Don’t look too far past the Patrick Gym, as the Catamounts’ combination of youth, leadership, and athleticism looks to have the team prepared to take on all challengers.Following a disappointing semifinal exit in the America East tournament last season, the Cats are back with a new co-captain and a fresh outlook.After transferring from Michigan State and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, junior Maurice Joseph is ready for his first action in green and gold.Joseph’s importance to the team was shown early this preseason when he was voted as co-captain by his teammates, along with senior Mike Trimboli, before ever playing a minute inside Pat?rick Gym.”[Maurice] brings a lot to the table with his leadership and vocal skills, which should help out our team this year,” Trimboli said.”We’re such a family in this community that anyone that comes in, we embrace right away.”Trimboli, entering his second season as co-captain for the Catamounts, is close to making a big mark in the UVM record books, as his 1,496 career points rank third all-time, and his 471 assists place him fourth all-time.”If I break a couple records on the way, it’s just another plus, but my main goal is just trying to get to the NCAA tournament,” Trimboli said. “I think I’ll be known for that more than the awards.”Another player who has already firmly ce?mented his legacy at UVM is junior Marqus Blakely, who earned the America East Player of the Year award and was also named an Honorable Mention All-American last season.Following a year in which he led the conference in points, rebounds and blocks, Blakely is still looking to improve his game.”During the offseason, I worked on my jump shot and ball handling,” Blakely said.”Playing the floor, I didn’t really get out and shoot a lot last season.”Joining these three leaders on the floor will be a young group of untested Cats, as the team will look for contributions from freshmen Garvey Young, Jordan Clark and Greg Hughes, and red?shirt freshman Pat Bergmann.”[Garvey and Young] are from D.C. and they have been in the AAU circuit for a while, so coming here, it’ll be different, but they’ll be able to play right away,” Blakely said of the team’s two most heralded recruits. With all of the pieces of the puzzle seemingly in place, Joseph is confident in his team’s chances this season.”We have enough scoring power, so if we communicate and defend as a team, and we can do that on a consistent, daily basis, I think we’ll be really scary.”