The 2010-2011 men’s basketball team

Please Note: The print version of this week’s Cynic states that this is Mike Lonergan’s first year with all his own recruits. This statement is false as it is currently Mike Lonergan’s sixth year as Vermont head coach. During his time here he — and his staff — have recruited players like Marqus Blakely, Mike Trimboli and Evan Fjeld.

Coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, the defending America East champion UVM men’s basketball team comes into the 2010-2011 season with an unfamiliar roster after losing four starters, including standout Marqus Blakely.

“I’m very excited for our team this season, sort of a new chapter in Vermont men’s basketball,” head coach Mike Lonergan said on Oct. 26 at Vermont’s Media Day. “Seven of our players haven’t played a game on this court yet. Seven out of 14 guys, so we’re inexperienced, but I think we have a talented group that’s working hard. We’ve got a long way to go and hopefully we’ll have a pretty good team.”

Fjeld progressed more than any other Catamount last year and by the end of the conference tournament established himself as one of the best big men in the league. The numbers won’t impress you — 10.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg — but Fjeld has an extremely developed basketball IQ, the ability to defend larger post players and shoots a very high field goal percentage. In conference play last season, Fjeld shot 65 percent from the floor and was 83 percent from the free throw line.

“We need Evan to produce on the court but we also need him to be a great leader,” Lonergan said. “He had a very good junior year. His first couple years he suffered a lot of injuries, but he’s always been a complimentary player and now he’s going to be our best player.”

Other than Fjeld, the Catamounts will need people to step up and fill the shoes of the departed players. Joey Accaoui will need to have a floor general mentality, instead of just a three-point shooting one. UMass transfer, Matt Glass enters his first year with Vermont after sitting out last season. The success of the team will rely heavily on Glass, who will need to step up as a leader and bring a versatile option to the Catamount offense.