PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The 1997-98 men’s basketball season kicks off for Plymouth State College this weekend (Nov. 21-22) when the Panthers host the McDonald’s-Palmisson Graphics-Susse Chalet Tip-Off Tourney at Foley Gymnasium.
This year’s tournament will feature three teams from the Granite State, and will bring back two Plymouth State alumni who have gone into coaching. The tourney begins Friday with Daniel Webster College facing Notre Dame College at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Plymouth State-Endicott game at 8:00 p.m. The consolation game is slated for 2:00 p.m. Saturday, followed by the championship affair at 4:00 p.m.
The Panthers are guided by head coach Paul Hogan, a 1979 graduate of PSC, who’s now in his eighth season at the helm. Former PSC player and assistant coach Dave Morissette now roams the sidelines for Notre Dame College, and PSC graduate John Griffith is the coach of Daniel Webster.
After the tournament, PSC will be idle until a home game against Salem State on Dec. 4th, before opening the Little East Conference season on Dec. 6th against Western Connecticut. Also on this season’s schedule is a trip to Daytona Beach, Fla., on Dec. 29-30, to participate in the Land of Magic Classic, where PSC will play Nebraska-Wesleyan and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
1997-98 PSC MEN’S BASKETBALL OUTLOOK
by Scott Miller
With four of the top five scorers back from last year’s 17-10 team that made the ECAC Tournament, the 1997-98 PSC men’s basketball team has a reason to be optimistic.
Head coach Paul Hogan, who guided PSC to its first NCAA Tournament in 1996, returns a solid core of veterans and an impressive stable of newcomers to his squad.
Leading the way for the Panther hoopsters will be junior point guard Adam DeChristopher (Brockton, MA), a two-year starter and an All-Little East Conference first team performer last season. DeChristopher, who was selected as the LEC and New England Coaches’ Rookie of the Year during his freshman season, was the team’s leading scorer a year ago, averaging 19.2 ppg. He also was tops on the team in assists and steals.
“There is no question that Adam is the center of our team,” said Hogan. “We want him to have the ball in his hands as much as possible. He can do a lot of things throughout the course of a game.”
Returning senior captains Ace Elefteriadis (Belmont, MA) and Seth Peloso (Rye, NH) give the Panthers solid leadership on and off the court. Elefteriadis, a 6’3″ guard-forward, combines a deft shooting touch from behind the arc with a solid post game to become a threat from all points on the floor. He averaged 13.5 ppg and also shot 90 percent from the free throw line. Peloso, a 6’2″ shooting guard, is one of the best athletes on the team. He averaged 8.9 ppg last season and is looking forward to putting his rugged off-season workout program to work.
“We are very fortunate to have these two fine young men as captains of our team,” said Hogan. “They represent our program with style and they are excellent role models for the new members of our team.”
The other returning starter for the Panthers is junior Eric McQueen (Lawrence, MA), a 6’2″ forward who was the third leading scorer on the team a year ago, averaging 11.5 ppg. McQueen can create excitement on both ends of the floor combining his outstanding offensive skills with a keen defensive prowess to give opponents fits.
“Eric is a talent on the court, pure and simple,” said Hogan, who has compiled a 117-72 record at PSC. “I hope people come out to watch him play because he makes the game look easy.”
Other returning veterans for the Panthers include juniors Jamal Pettiford-Jones (Portsmouth, N.H.) and Todd Steffanides (Fitchburg, MA). Pettiford-Jones, a 6’6″ forward saw action in all 27 games last season. The Panthers will need solid play from him in the paint to help offset the team’s lack of size. Steffanides, a back-up point guard, also played in every game last year, and will be looked upon as a solid reserve at either guard position.
“Todd and Jamal give us depth at every position,” said Hogan. “They are both versatile and can play a variety of roles. We will need them to play well for us in order to compete night in an night out.”
Top newcomers in the front court include a pair of 6’8″ centers, Doug Stokes (Wycoff, NJ) and Ryan Bishop (Cohasset, MA), 6’3″ forward Tony Martinez (Pittsfield, NH), and 6’5″ forward Warren Ostler (Morrisville, VT). Stokes, a senior transfer from the College of New Jersey, is expected to step in an give PSC much needed help on the boards. Bishop, a freshman who has shown a lot of promise during the pre-season, will be looking to break into the line-up once the season begins. Martinez, a freshman who missed his senior year in high school due to injury, and Ostler, also a freshman, have been pleasant surprises for the Panthers.
In the back court, Plymouth will look to sophomore Jamodi Robinson (Framingham, MA), a 5’11″ transfer from Albany State (NY). Robinson will add quickness and speed to the Panthers’ up-tempo style of play.
“We have a solid core of newcomers that are learning the system,” said Hogan. “I have been very pleased with the progress of our young players. They are working well with our veterans.”
“There really isn’t an easy night on our schedule,” said Hogan. “That is one of the challenges of playing in our conference. There are no guarantees from night to night.”