When Mike Lonergan left UVM to become head coach at George Washington University in May, John Becker was tapped to replace him. While a new face at the end of the bench, Coach Becker is no stranger to this Catamount program after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach. This marks Becker’s sixth season with Vermont, and he hopes to expand upon the team’s previous successes.
With the graduation of Evan Fjeld, Joey Accaoui and Garret Kissel, Vermont will have their work cut out for them. Picked to finish third in America East, Vermont will have to look
elsewhere for offense.
Preseason all-conference selection forward Brian Voekel and starting point guard Sandro Carissimo, both sophomores and Becker recruits, will seek to enhance captains junior Brendan Bald and senior Matt Glass’ leadership.
“I see guys like Brendan Bald and Matt Glass really having to pick up the scoring load,” Becker said. “Hopefully Pat Bergmann and Ben Crenca inside can also provide more scoring.”
And then there are the first-years. “Both Four McGlynn and Chris Santo were prolific scorers in high school, and they have a knack for scoring the ball. They’re freshmen, and it’s hard to figure out what their roles are going to be day one, but I expect that they are going to contribute this season,” Becker said.
This season’s schedule brings with it a challenging non-conference schedule. Opening the season in Tampa against Big East opponent South Florida will be an early test, as will early season games against Old Dominion, Siena, Iona and Harvard, which will push the team going into America East Conference play in January.
Vermont was also selected to participate in the 10th annual ESPN Sear’s BrackBusters series and will host a home game in Patrick Gym in February. Last season, Vermont traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to play College of Charleston in their first ever game against a Southern Conference opponent.
Coach Becker said he is focused on the present. Each practice offers a new chance to progress and improve as a team. The future, though, is not lost on him. He wants to “get to a point where we are playing our best basketball going into the America East Tournament. That’s really what my focus is this year. Hopefully we can get another America East Championship Game back here in Patrick.”