YORK, PA – The York College men's basketball team begins their final year in the Capital Athletic Conference looking to build on the success of recent years. The Spartans have earned back-to-back regular season Capital Athletic Conference championships in addition to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. York has won 46 games over the last two years and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament both years.
While those stats are impressive, head coach Matt Hunter prefers to look ahead and not behind.
"We have played well the last few years but I would much rather look ahead to see where this team is going," said the head coach who enters his eighth year in York. "We are a much different team this year and I want to make sure we work on getting better each day. I want to see daily improvement and if we do that, we will be where we want to be at the end of the year. It's so important to compete every day so we constantly improve."
Hunter will turn to a veteran senior class that has combined to win 63 games during their Spartan careers. The foursome of Jared Wagner, Joe Polczynski, Zach Novick and Darin Gordon give Hunter a combined 338 games of experience as the foursome have all played an important role in the Spartan program.
"Our seniors are very experienced and provide us with great leadership," says Hunter. "We will rely on them to be great this year, both on and off the floor."
Wagner and Gordon highlight a guard rotation that should be deep and talented. Wagner, York's lone All-CAC returner, averaged 14.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.6 steals per game. Gordon returns to the lineup as he averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.
Kelly missed the first 10 games of his freshman year due to an injury but came back for a limited role for the final 20 games of the year. After a full off-season, Hunter expects Kelly to be an important part of the rotation. Rimel played in 20 games as a freshman as he averaged 2.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. He has worked hard to make himself a factor in the Spartans' plans this year. Stoll sat out last year after transferring into the program between semesters. He is a bouncy guard whose athleticism is a great addition to the Spartan squad. Collins and Hill are a pair of freshmen who will get the chance to earn a spot in the rotation during their freshman campaigns.
Novick and Polczynski along with junior David Giuliani provide Hunter with a strong frontcourt that can play inside and out. Polczynski finished the year averaging 11.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 three pointers made per game. He was York's top shooter from beyond the arc while he also shot 80% from the free throw line. Novick is a talented three-point shooter who averaged 7.3 points and 2.8 rebounds. He shot 35% from three as he made 1.7 threes per game. Giuliani joined the Spartans at the midway point of the year and averaged 3.5 points per game in 16 contests.
Sophomore Riley Dobraniecki and junior Chris Tracy provide depth up front and will be joined by a talented pair of freshmen as Tristan Kent and Avery Hinz will have the opportunity to develop throughout the year.
The Spartans will face one of the most challenging slates in school history. York faces five schools with 20 or more wins last year and another six that had 15 or more wins. The Spartans three in-season tournaments include a trip to the Dick Leftwich Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Roanoke College, a trip to Wooster College to face a pair of talented teams from Ohio and their own Spartan Classic in early January.
"Our schedule will certainly challenge us," says Hunter. "We want to be able to prepare ourselves for the rigors of CAC play. We play seven of our first eight on the road so we will certainly be tested early."
The Spartans are predicted to finish second in the Capital Athletic Conference by the preseason coaches poll. York kicks off the season Friday, November 8 when they travel to Franklin and Marshall College for a non-conference contest. The Spartan home campaign opens on November 20 against Lancaster Bible.