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UVM Basketball 2007-2008
University of Vermont: Basketball Preview 07-08 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Jamele   
Sunday, 14 October 2007

It's that time of the year.  Basketball season is almost here, and coach Lonergan and his University of Vermont  Catamounts are gearing up for a season that highlights the usual competitive America East games as well as some tough out of conference games featuring George Mason, Virginia, Loyola (Md.) and the two-time defending NCAA champion Florida Gators.  

In our traditional fashion and in preparation for another exciting and extremely challenging season, we have put together our position preview for the Catamounts.  We hope you enjoy our predictions--if you would like to discuss or make a comment, please feel free to drop in on the message board.

Point Guard:

The Starter:

Vermont will not have to worry about its point guard play this season barring injury. Junior Mike Trimboli will return for his third year at the helm for the Catamounts and he is the pre-season favorite for conference player of the year. Trimboli burst onto the America East scene from the start of his college career, taking home the conference Rookie of the Year award two seasons ago. Last year he built on his freshman campaign and was named to the all-conference first team and took home the Fan’s Choice Conference Player of the Year honors. While his numbers were very similar to his freshman year, Trimboli’s play took a step up last year. The improvement was especially noticeable during conference play where he averaged 17.9 points and 4 assists a game while shooting 45% from the field and 38% from three-point range. While he is a bit streaky at times, Trimboli is one of the most talented shooters in the conference. He will be counted on to take over games for the Catamounts, which he has the experience, talent and mindset to thrive. With a smaller but more athletic team around him, look for the team to start running more. This could lead to more assists for Trimboli and more highlight real plays from his teammates.

The Backups:
No team in the league will have the depth at the point guard position that Vermont will enjoy next year. Talented sophomore Nick Vier returns from an up and down freshman year which saw flashes of brilliance from the quick 6’1” guard but also showed how tough the transition is from high school to college ball. Vier has all the ingredients needed to be a very good guard in the America East but needs to develop the confidence to take advantage of all his talent. Incoming freshman Joey Accaoui promises to be a fan favorite for the Patrick Gym faithful. At a generously listed 5’10”, the little spark plug is a quick and tenacious player and a tremendous shooter. He will have some trouble guarding some players, because of his limited stature but he will thrive because of the heart that he plays with.

Shooting Guard:

The Starter:
Kyle Cieplicki is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the conference. While not flashy, Cieplicki does all the things a team needs to win. A good defender, Cieplicki routinely guards the best backcourt player on the opposing team. He contributed a solid 7.4 points a game last year and was second on the team in assists. His outside shot will be a key ingredient to this year’s team as opposing clubs will have to stay out and guard him allowing holes in the defense for players like Trimboli and Colin McIntosh to use their strengths to drive to the basket. Cieplicki has improved his offense arsenal throughout his career and has become a better ball-handler, which allows him to penetrate lanes as well as stroke the outside shot. While he is not a top option on offense he knows what to do with the ball and is a solid contributor to a half court set.

The Backups:
The players off the bench for shooting guard will be the same players who will be sharing time at the point guard position. Do not be surprised to see Trimboli moved off the ball at times to free him from ball handling duties and to get him open shots coming off screens. Accaoui could also see some minutes here to take advantage of his stellar shooting ability. Billed as one of the top shooters in the country last year by scout.com, Accaoui has a quick release and deep range on his shot.

Small Forward:

The Starter:
Colin McIntosh is in position to have a breakout junior season. With the incredible start to the year that the now transferred Joe Trapani had last season, the improvement that McIntosh made went under the radar. He averaged almost 8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game last year while improving his field goal percentage and extending his shooting range out the to the three point line. His versatility may be unmatched in the league this year as, at 6’8”, has he has the size to contribute down low and has good shooting touch and driving ability. He has the talent to be a double-digit scorer this year and could make the leap to the all-conference level.

The Backups:
Sophomore Marqus Blakely will probably log most of his minutes at the power forward spot this year but he may be more suited for the small forward position. Freshman Evan Fjeld should see some minutes backing up at the small forward position. He is a similar player to McIntosh but has a little wider frame, which could allow him to be more of a post player than McIntosh. Chad Powlovich could also see some time here. The walk-on may not be the most talented player but he makes positive contributions with his hustle and toughness

Power Forward:

The Starter:
An incredibly gifted athlete, Blakely wowed people across the country during the America East conference championship game when he threw down a highlight reel dunk over Albany’s Brent Wilson. While his crowd-pleasing dunks are a staple of Blakely’s offensive repertoire, he is also very adept at gaining position and scoring in the low post despite his height (he is listed at 6’5”). He will be undersized but will be able to make up for this with his length and leaping ability. The America East is not full of dominate post players so Blakely should be able to hold his own and provide some scoring, rebounds, blocks and, of course, highlight reel dunks.

The Backups:
Fjeld could be the main backup to Blakely if he makes a smooth transition to the college game. He is a versatile and talented player who could be an excellent high-post power forward in time. A highly recruited big man from North Carolina, he sifted through 20 scholarship offers and chose Vermont. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and can hit jump shots as well. He make take a little time to get used to playing in the trenches at the college level but he is a name for the future and his development could be a big variable for Vermont’s season. Senior Timothy McCrory could also see time here. McCrory is a lanky 6’6” athlete who will need to use his athleticism to make up for his lack of size and skills.


The Starter:
This is the one position where there is no clear-cut player who will be taking the majority of minutes. Senior Timothy McCrory could end up the starter because of his experience and athleticism. He will have to improve his around the basket skills to make up for his lack of size in the post. Freshman center Garrett Kissel is another candidate to take over the void left by the graduation of Chris Holm and his 12 rebounds a game. Kissel has good size at a beefy 6’9” but is rough around the edges, which can be expected from a freshman.

The Backups:

Junior Ryan Shields will vie for playing time in one of the low post spots. Shields has a good size frame but has yet to prove himself at the division one level. Red shirt Freshman Kyle Robbins has all the size one could hope for in a center prospect, coming in at 6’10”, but needs to develop the basketball skills to go with his body. Freshman Pat Bergmann, 6’10” post prospect from Rice High School in Vermont, has good mobility for a player of his size but needs time to add some weight to his frame before he can make an impact in the post.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 October 2007 )
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