Susquehanna's men's basketball will be tipping off its 109th season and 23rd under head coach Frank Marcinek, who won his 300th career game against Goucher last January. On November 15, they host non-conference opponent New Jersey City, facing the Gothic Knights for the first time since 1993-94. Joining him on the bench this season are assistant coaches Chad Bailey, Mark Prusch '06, Greg Miller, Aaron Ettinger and Chuck Carroll. The squad looks to improve on its 11-14 record from a year ago and make a playoff appearance. There are two challenging games early on in the schedule, as the team travels to St. Francis (Pa.) to take on the Red Flash of Division I and to Clarion (D-II). The Crusaders posted a 7-4 record at Orlando W. Houts Gymnasium and hope to improve their road record in the process (3-8 in '10-11). Landmark Conference rivals Scranton and Catholic provide four tough games when SU reaches conference action in January. Coach Marcinek wants to improve interior defense and force more turnovers creating fast break chances for his up-tempo offense. He believes he can maintain the balanced scoring attack from '10-11, as four of the top–five scorers return.
The biggest hole for Coach Marcinek and company to fill is the one left by senior Rob Estep. The team's leading scorer in 2010-11 (356 points; 14.2 ppg), he was ranked sixth in the Landmark Conference in scoring and was named to the LC second team. During his playing time at SU, he provided consistency and leadership, which will be looked upon in the upperclassmen this year. The team also lost graduating seniors Frank Marcinek, Jr., Fran Brzyski and Jason Dawson.
SU has 11 returning players this season including 1,000 point scorer senior shooting guard Spenser Spencer, who was second on the team averaging 14.0 ppg while also making a team-high 57 three-pointers in 2010-11. With the loss of Estep, Spencer steps in as the 'go-to guy' offensively. Reigning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year Harley Sellinger will look to avoid a sophomore slump after averaging 8.4 points and 6.4 boards his freshman year. Third year starter J.T. Wilson will look to continue to provide offense (12.5 ppg in '10-11). Junior guard E.J. Duncan provides quickness and quality three-point shooting and will be called upon as a defensive stopper. Sophomore forward Wally Rutecki is expected to play more significant minutes. Sophomore guards Jake Eskin and Mike Perillo give the Crusaders depth at the point guard position, which was lacking last year. Unfortunately, junior Harvey Pannell, who led the team with 83 assists last year along with 12.2 ppg and 4.4 rpg, will be lost for the 2011-12 campaign due to a season-ending injury over the offseason.
There are six freshmen on the roster this year for SU. 6-3 guard Matt McGugan and 6-5 guard/forward Tony Seldon are projected to give Marcinek a boost off the bench. Also new to the roster this year are Tim Sullivan, Erik Shirvanian, Matt Possanza, Nick Gardner and Ed Kent.