By Kirti Chakote
For the 2013-2014 season, it is safe to say that the Union men’s basketball team is starting anew. With new head and assistant coaches, and a roster filled with underclassmen, the team has fresh faces that are ready to add to the team’s winning tradition.
“Heck, we are a new team this year. However, that doesn’t change our expectations to compete for the Liberty League title and get a NCAA playoff berth,” said head coach Chris Murphy ‘06.
Murphy was one of the finest guards in Dutchmen basketball history during the 2003-2006 seasons. He is one of six guards to have over 300 career assists, was the team’s Most Valuable Player in the 2004-2005 season and had Liberty League All-Academic honors.
Murphy was also the assistant coach at Emory University for four seasons prior to beginning his stint at Union.
Helping Murphy lead the team is junior captain Terell Winney ‘15, and senior captains Keith Callies ‘14 and Brian DeBisschop ‘14.
As the only three upperclassmen, these players have lead by example since the coach first spoke to his new team. Winney is a returning Liberty League Honorable Mention and Liberty League All Rookie Team player. Callies is a returning Liberty League Performer of the Week and consistent starting scorer as guard, while DeBisschop is a returning Liberty League-All Academic player.
“The difference with this season is how vocal I am with the younger players. We have a lot of great new talent, and I am just trying to lead them the best I can,” said Callies. “Since we have such a new team, and a lot of players who have not played with the past talent from last year, we have a fresh start that looks promising.”
The team started on a rough stretch, losing their first three games. However, they have rebounded nicely, winning four of their past seven games before this past weekend.
Union had two league games, one against Clarkson University on Friday in the Viniar Center and another on the road Saturday against Skidmore College.
Friday night’s game against the Golden Knights was a thriller. The team was led by sophomore forward William Hython who recorded a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds, freshmen guard, Kevin Weckworth who had 25 points and two assists, and guards Deshon Burgess ‘17 and Winney, who scored 17 and 13 points, respectively.
The game was neck and neck until the second overtime, when the Dutchmen blew out to a six-point lead, 85-79, and sealed it with clutch-free throw shooting.
Unfortunately, the team’s momentum didn’t carry out on to the road into the home of the Thoroughbreds.
Led behind Winney’s 11 points, and Hython and Burgess’s nine points each, Union men’s basketball suffered its worst loss of the season, getting blown out 58-103.
Skidmore shot an amazing 58.3 percent from the field, hitting 37 of their 63 shots.
While the team did suffer a big loss from this past weekend, their impressive double-overtime win against Clarkson is definitely something Union’s young and new team can build off of for the rest of the season.
“A successful first season for me is not going to be measured in wins and losses. Whether or not we get to the Liberty League tournament or the NCAA, I will be happy with how our term performed if at the end of our last game we can assuredly say that we did our best and have grown as much as we could from the season,” commented Murphy.
The Dutchmen played another conference opponent, Rochester Institute of Technology, on the road this Tuesday.
Be sure to come out and support the Dutchmen for the rest of what is sure to be a hard-fought season.