Andrew Albert (@andrewjalbert01)
(Ed Note: With the 2012-13 season rapidly approaching, the CoBL staff will be all over the southeastern part of the state, previewing schools from D-III up through D-I. Andrew Albert files this report about the Arcadia Knights of the MAC.)
The Division III Arcadia Knights are heading into the 2012-2013 season with a more seasoned roster, and a new head coach. Justin Scott is the new head coach at Arcadia, and he has high expectations for the upcoming year.
The Knights are coming off a 9-16 season in which they went 2-12 in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), and failed to make the postseason. Scott believes that the record was not an accurate depiction of how the season went for Arcadia.
“We had ten freshman last year,” Scott said. “We were a young team. Even our upperclassmen haven’t been in many close games. The program hasn’t been in the place I would like it to be in terms of wins and losses.
“It was a learning experience for all of us going through the close games. We didn’t lose by many points in those games. It was just us learning how to win.”
“We just didn’t finish games well,” Scott added. “Whether that was missed assignments, bad shot selection, a little selfishness, it all factored into it.”
The Knights are returning 12 players from last season, while only losing four. Arcadia lost Jason Thompson, who started all 25 games last season, and averaged over six points a game.
Arcadia also lost three freshmen to transfers. Both Landy Panico and Dalton Sterling
transferred to Vineland Community College, in southern New Jersey. Sterling made it to the court in nine games last season, contributing around two points a game. Panico only saw the court in four games, and did not manage to score at all. Aaron Grocce transferred to Salem CC, which is also in southern Jersey. Grocce only played 27 minutes in the 2011-2012 season.
Even though the Knights lost four players this offseason, Scott is confident in the group that he has. Among the returning players that Scott has confidence in is senior forward Colin McCarthy.
“Colin is our team captain, he has been the captain for the past two years,” Scott said. “He has done an exceptional job of leading our young guys both vocally and by example.”
McCarthy is playing in his final year of eligibility even though he graduated from Arcadia last spring. McCarthy was the Knight’s second leading scorer with an average of about nine points a game, while adding 5 rebounds.
Joining McCarthy in the frontcourt will be sophomore Joe Brown. In his freshman season, Brown contributed 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He started all 25 games for the Knights.
“I’m looking for Joe Brown to have a big year for us,” Scott said. “He had a great summer, and I think he was our most consistent and bets player throughout the summer.”
The backcourt for Arcadia is a little less solidified than the frontcourt. There are a number of guards vying for a starting spot.
“Travis Saltus was our starting point guard last year, I think he is a leading candidate for a starting job, but it needs to be earned,” Scott said. “Hopefully he does a good job of picking up the system we are trying to implement but I see Travis being an intrical part of our future.”
Saltus added 8.4 points and 2.5 assists per game for the Knights as a freshman. Fellow sophomore guard Aaron Lee-Webb also played an intrical part for Arcadia, as he averaged 8.7 points and just about two assists and two rebounds per contest. Scott expects Lee-Webb to compete for a starting spot with Malcolm Still, who averaged 8.4 points a game last season.
“Aaron Lee-Webb and Malcolm Still are going to compete and battle for the starting two-guard spot,” Scott clarified.
The Knights have two freshmen in the class of 2016, as well a transfer who is in the class of 2015. John Landro, of Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey is a freshman for Arcadia, joining Alex Cohn of Ridgewood High School in the class of 2016. Khalil Curtis, who transferred from Allen College in South Carolina rounds out the incoming players for the Knights.
“I’ve gotten great feedback about our three new guys in terms of attitude, work ethic and commitment,” Scott detailed. “Even our older guys on the team are telling me when they are playing pickup or skills and drills that they fit in real well, and see them as iatrical pieces of the puzzle.
Scott is intent on building off the lessons of last season to turn the Knights into a playoff team. The first year head coach has his outline for success for the 2012-2013 season.
“The main thing for us to is to be able to defend and to rebound,” Scott added. “Defense wins games and wins championships and I am a strict believer in that. We didn’t defend well at all last year. That is one of the main areas that we are going to emphasize early this year.”
“Taking good shots within the offense,” Scott said. “A lot of times last year I don’t think we took good shots. Being able to move the ball and take good shots that we are going to focus on and work on.”
With the blueprint for success all laid out by Scott, Arcadia started practice on October 15. Under Division III rules, coaches cannot work with players before that day, so the coaching staff have recently gotten their first look at the Knights team.
The MAC is split up into two different conferences, the Commonwealth Conference and the Freedom conference. Arcadia falls in the Commonwealth conference, along with Philadelphia area school Widener.
November 28 is Arcadia’s first conference game this season against Albright, at Arcadia. Scott looks to this game to be of heavy importance, as he believes Albright will be one of the favorites in the MAC this season.
Scott wants to take things one-step at a time in the early stages of practice, but believes that this team has what it takes to have a successful season.
“The goal is to get better everyday,” Scott said. “If we are doing that, I think we have the talent to put us in position to compete for a playoff spot within our conference.”