SU Men's Hoops Aiming High

SU Men's Hoops Aiming High

One year after reaching the Landmark Conference finals, the Susquehanna men's basketball team has high hopes for the 2014-15 campaign. Although the Crusaders have to replace four key seniors, including 2013-14 All-Conference Performer Harley Sellinger, the team returns three of its top five scorers from last season and adds seven talented newcomers to the roster. Overall, the team is relatively young with only one senior on the roster in guard and four-year letter winner Matt McGugan.    

Veteran head coach Frank Marcinek enters his 26th year at the helm of the Crusaders with more wins than any other coach in program history. In addition to assistants Chad Bailey and Mark Prusch '06, Marcinek will be aided by a new face on his coaching staff in Sam Moore, who served as an assistant coach at Alfred University from October 2013-July 2014 and was part of a coaching staff that captured 2013-14 Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
   
SU was selected to finish third in the Landmark Conference preseason coaches' poll, but has the potential to exceed expectations; last year's squad landed fifth in the 2013-14 preseason poll before finishing as the conference runner-up to Scranton.

Backcourt
Susquehanna boasts one of the best backcourt duos in the Landmark Conference with junior Brandon Hedley and sophomore Steven Weidlich. Neither was a stranger to the three-point shot in 2013-14 as they finished first and second in three-pointers per game with 3.2 and 3.0, respectively. Hedley and Weidlich also led the conference in minutes per game last season, averaging 35.7 and 36.1 minutes per contest.
   
Hedley received conference honors in the past two seasons as Rookie of the Year in 2012-13 and as a member of the All-Conference Second Team in 2013-14. His 17.0 points per game average was fourth-highest in the Landmark last season, but belie his ability as a distributor; the guard was third among all conference players with 4.7 assists per game in 2013-14.
   
Weidlich is coming off a freshman campaign in which he averaged 14.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and started 25 of SU's 27 contests.
   
According to Marcinek, Hedley and Weidlich will likely switch roles with the junior moving off the ball into a two-guard role while the sophomore plays more from the point position. Either way, the tandem should serve as the motor behind the SU offense and a focal point for opposing defenses.
      
Coming off the bench in the backcourt will be Phil Madison¸ a sophomore guard who appeared in 22 games last season.
   
"[Phil] is a very energetic guy who brings the ability to score from the point guard position," Marcinek said. "He's got good quickness and good leadership."
     
The shooting guard position will be backed up by Jason Dietrich, a sophomore transfer from Division II Kutztown University.

Frontcout
Starting at one of the forward spots will be McGugan, who appeared in 26 games last season and averaged 6.0 points per contest. McGugan is the only senior on the roster and will be relied upon for his leadership.
     
Also starting in the frontcourt is junior Josh Miller who is coming off an injury-shortened 2013-14 season in which he played only six games.             As a freshman, Miller appeared in 24 contests for the Crusaders and averaged 7.6 points game with an impressive 87 percent mark from the charity stripe.
      
The last starting spot likely belongs to Ryan Traub, a 6-6 freshman that has had a strong preseason. Danny Weiss will also compete for time as he recovers from injury as will freshmen Connor Mailen and Langston Ellison.

Schedule
The Crusaders open at home against Lycoming College on Nov. 18. On Nov. 21 and 22, SU will host its annual Pepsi Tip-Off Tournament with games against Penn State Worthington Scranton and an opponent to be determined.
   
The non-conference schedule also includes a road date at Division I squad Lafayette. The game, which is scheduled for Dec. 16, will be the second meeting between the two teams and Susquehanna's ninth contest against a Division I opponent during Marcinek's tenure.
  
SU begins Landmark play on Dec. 3 at Catholic University in a rematch of last season's conference semifinals, a 69-66 Crusaders' victory. Other key conference tilts include a home contest against defending Landmark champion Scranton on Jan. 8 and a Jan. 10 road game at USMMA, which also reached last year's conference semifinals.
   
The 2015 Landmark Conference Playoffs begin on Feb. 25 and will conclude with the championship on Feb. 28.