TIP OFF TIME
The sixth season under the watchful eye of Rico Cabral gets underway in earnest with the Dean College men's basketball program tipping off against Framingham State on Friday evening at Pieri Gymnasium.
NO REST FOR THE WEARY
Friday night's season opener kicks off a daunting stretch for the Bulldogs, who will play four games in a nine-day stretch that features a road trip to the University of New England on Sunday and home contests against Emmanuel College (Tuesday, 6:00 PM) and Fitchburg State (Saturday, 6:00 PM).
YOU CAN BOOK IT
Back in the fold for the Cardinal and White is two-time first-team all-conference selection Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.). He returns for his senior campaign after a junior season that saw him lead the NECC and rank 25th in the nation in scoring (22.7), shoot nearly 44 percent from three-point land (83-190) and 80 percent from the free throw line (78-97).
PASS IT FORWARD
Booker gets a lot of attention for his scoring and deservedly so, but he finished fourth in the conference in assists per game (4.7) and enters his senior season with 236 in 52 games – a 4.5 per game average.
Dean's most experienced returner is senior Josh Croskey (Birmingham, Ala.), who has played in 75 games in his three-year career thus far. A career 45 percent shooter from the field, Croskey has career averages of 8.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. An elite level shot blocker, Croskey has finished second in the league in rejections in back-to-back seasons and enters this season with 127 all-time rejections.
BACK FOR MORE
In addition to those two, also back in the fold for the Bulldogs is senior D'caran Anderson (Compton, Calif.), junior Vashon Wilson (Stamford, Conn.) and sophomores Sidney Kennedy (Virginia, Beach, Va.), Nick Sampeck (San Antonio, Texas), Tyrone Smith-McCray (Brockton, Mass.), Ozwaldo Terrazas (Odessa, Texas) and DJ Whaley (Odessa, Texas).
After finishing tied for second in the league standings at 11-5 a season ago, the Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the coaches' preseason poll. Defending conference champion, New England College, earned five first place votes to take the top spot, followed by Eastern Nazarene and Mitchell College.
SUNSET ON SHOWTIME
One huge hole to fill for Dean will be replacing Dayvon Russell '20. A third-team all-conference selection who earned USCAA second-team All-America honors, Russell appeared 77 games, scored 1,188 career points and averaged 18.1 points per game a season ago – good for fifth in the NECC.