Two Cats set to transfer

Just over one year ago, Josh Duell and Ryan Schneider, along with the rest of the University of Vermont basketball team, were celebrating their miraculous upset victory over Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Today, both players are looking forward to spending the rest of their careers at other schools. A lot can change over one season; especially in collegiate athletics. Players graduate, high school stars get recruited by some schools and then go elsewhere, coaches move on or retire. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the off-season after the now legendary 2004-05 Catamount men’s basketball season. Along with the graduation of stars such as Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine, iconic coach Tom Brennan retired after 19 years. Virtually his entire staff left with him. Enter the scene rookie coach Mike Lonergran, fresh out of an assistant coaching stint at Maryland along with a whole crew of supporting first year coaches. New coaches with a new attitudes; a whole new plan. “The transition was a little difficult just because I had developed a two year relationship with the old staff through out the whole recruiting process and last year,” said Duell, a sophomore from Scotia, New York who is transferring to play for Siena College next year. “Coach Brennan is more laid back and has a ‘let them play’ type attitude. Coach Lonergan is a very good at the X’s and O’s of the game and likes to control things a little bit more.” Schneider, also a sophomore, from Yorktown Heights, New York, agreed. “There was a group of guys who had been recruited by Brennan and another group by Lonergan, and I had a real strong relationship with the previous coaching staff.” The transition to a new coaching staff, especially the retirement of Brennan, played a “significant part” in his decision to transfer. He will be playing for the Marist College Red Foxes for two seasons after sitting out one season as per NCAA regulations. Both players were sad to see Tom Brennan retire after the 2005 run into the NCAA tournament. “He was really supportive throughout my first year, especially when there were a couple of times that I was struggling,” said Schneider. Duell also holds the same feeling towards his old coach, “He’s the kind of person you don’t lose touch with. We ate lunch the other day.” Ryan Schneider and Josh Duell were key components to the Catamount basketball team this past season, averaging 24.7 and 22.4 minutes per game, respectively and starting in a combined 22 games as sophomores. Both exhibited good all-around skills; Scheider was third on the team in three-point attempts while also pulling down the third most rebounds. Duell averaged over seven points per game and held a field goal percentage over forty percent. Both aim to playing key roles on their future teams. “They (Siena) play a four-out offense where I can be on the perimeter a lot and that’s what I feel comfortable doing,” said Duell. “I have always wanted to play for them but didn’t get recruited by them out of high school. They then got a new coach and he is a great guy so I got the opportunity to become a part of their program. Hopefully I will be able to come in and have an impact in the league for them.” “(Marist Head Coach) Matt Brady is a great guy. He has an intensity about him but cares for his players well being,” said Schenider. “They have an open court style of play…I am looking forward to being able to expand my game because I am not just a stand still shooter.” Being close to home does not hurt either. “Marist is only 45 minutes from home, so it will make it easier on my parents to get to games.” Leaving one team for another is never an easy process. “When you are on a sports team you spend most of your college life around those people. All of the players in the program are great and I will miss them all very much,” said Duell. Schneider agreed. “When you spend most of your college career with a group of guys it definitely makes it tough to say goodbye, but because of our relationship they respected, understood and supported my decision. They’ll all be missed.” Last season Vermont had a relatively disappointing year compared to previous seasons, going 13-17 overall with a 7-9 league record. They finished sixth in the league, but were able to put on an impressive run in the America East tournament, proceeding to the finals where they lost to Albany 80-67. With seven freshman, three sophomores, and two juniors, the team is very young. With such youth comes a lot of potential. When asked where he saw the future of Vermont men’s basketball heading, Duell said, “Well they have a great bunch of guys and they should be at the top of the league next year and years to come.” Though Josh Duell and Ryan Schneider will be missed, it seems like, even to them, UVM basketball is once again on the rise.