Friday, November 12, 2010

2010-11 Season Outlook

Image Courtesy of Dawn Anderson

The MIT Engineers, who rose as high as No. 8 in the national rankings last season, will be looking to continue to build on this foundation and have another championship caliber season. After winning the NEWMAC regular (2010) and Tournament (2009) championships, earning consecutive bids to the NCAA Division III Tournament, and securing its third All-American in six years, MIT is rapidly transcending its image to mirror its unparalleled academic reputation. The Engineers, who debuted at No. 15 in the Pre-Season Top 25 Poll, return four starters from last season’s 22-5 team, as well as 89% of their scoring and 81% of their rebounding.

Front Court
MIT’s top returning player is middle-man Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial Catholic). The 6’9” junior was selected Pre-Season First Team All-America by and will enter the new campaign as the league’s reigning Player of the Year after winning the scoring race (20.4) and rebounding title (9.0). Hollingsworth is joined up front by 6’8” sophomore Will Tashman (Atherton, CA/Menlo School), who proved to be one of the most dominant big men in the NEWMAC last year as a freshman, finishing the season as the league-leader in field-goal percentage (57%) and pulling down 7.2 caroms a game.

Joining Hollingsworth and Tashman up front are newcomers Tim Donegan (Allison Park, PA/Hampton) and Will Dickson (Dallas, TX/St. Mark’s School). Donegan, a 6’6” lefty, has a long frame and a feathery touch from the perimeter. Will Dickson, 6’8”, brings to the program a wide body, excellent hands, and has the potential to be a strong presence on the floor.

Back Court
Leading the backcourt again is last season’s NEWMAC and Northeast region Rookie of the Year, co-captain Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, NJ/Phillips Exeter). The dynamic sophomore has already emerged as one of the top point guards in the country, and has the confidence and skill-set to lead the Engineers to unprecedented heights. Last year, Kates averaged 13.5 ppg while leading the league in assists (112) and steals (57).

The Engineers benefit from the return of junior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, WV/Phillips Exeter), who was second to Jimmy Bartolotta ‘09 as the NEWMAC’s best three-point shooter during his rookie campaign and was lost to injury last season. Karraker and sophomore Jimmy Burke (Scotch Plains, NJ/Seton Hall Prep), who led the league with 2.3 three-point field goals per game last year, combine to form a lethal combination from behind the arc.

Adding to the deep backcourt is junior Billy Bender (Woodlands, TX/Woodlands College Park). Bender (7.8ppg, 5.2 rpg), a 6’5” wingman, quickly earned the reputation as one of the top on-the-ball defenders in the NEWMAC last year. His length, speed, and uncanny ability to make timely plays are what make Bender so special.

The squad’s lone senior is 6’5” co-captain Eric Zuk (Carlisle, MA/Concord-Carlisle), the ultimate utility-player and nucleus of the team’s leadership, who averaged just over 13 minutes per game last year. Arni Lehto (Helskini, Finland/Helsingin), a defensive specialist, is another key component to the Engineers’ success this season, with his tireless work ethic and knowledge for the game.

After a two-year hiatus recovering from hip surgeries, former team Rookie of the Year, Dan McCue (Hampden, ME/Hampden Academy), returns to the team ready to make up for the time lost. Also recovering from injury is Nick Sather (Denver, CO/George Washington), who is set to return to the court by conference play.

Arguably the deepest and most game-ready incoming class in MIT history includes three wings in 6’5” Nick Davis (Omaha, NE/Omaha Creighton Prep), 6’4” Will Watkins (Holladay, UT/Olympus), and 6’3” Jon Thompson (San Antonio, TX/Judson). Rounding out the class is 5’11” sharp-shooter Josh Dunaway (Cincinnati, OH/Seven Hills), 6’2” Will Baysinger (Tulsa, OK/Owasso), and 5’9” point-guard Mike Attanasio (Los Angeles, CA/Harvard-Westlake).