Last season, the Carlow University men’s basketball team achieved its first conference win in program history against Cincinnati Christian on “Pink the Pavilion” night.
Although the Celtics finished with an overall record of 6-21 and a conference record of 1-14 in 2015-16, they faced several tough competitors as preparation for the future. Head coach Tim Keefer said the most important lesson the Celtics learned was to “make the most of every possession.”
Last season, Carlow ranked fourth in the conference in offensive and defensive rebounds, averaging 14.1 offensive boards and 26.7 defensive boards per game. It’s an edge Keefer hopes to keep, adding two more forwards for the 2016-17 season.
With a roster of 20 players heading into this season, 15 of them are returners.
Senior guard Isaac Fulwood finished his final season with the Celtics averaging 13.7 points per game and shooting 32.7% from the field.
Other key contributors were Charlie Scharbo, who averaged 12 points per game, and Zack Taylor, who averaged 10.6 points per game. Both will return to lead the Celtics in 2016-17.
The five newcomers are Chance Wright (G/Bethel Park HS), Ryan Bradigan-Barnett (F/West Shamokin HS), Swade Redman (G/Jeannette HS), Markel Pulliam (G/Washington HS) and Dylan D'Alessio (G/F/Brashear HS).
The Celtics were a young team last season, with just one senior. Now, they have five freshmen, five sophomores, seven juniors and three seniors, giving them the advantage of veteran leadership and experience.
“I expect we will be in great shape, faster and stronger this season,” Keefer said.
The team has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season, including holding conditioning sessions, open-gym scrimmages and optional practices during the day for players to work on their game.
“We’ve had a great preseason of conditioning and strength training,” Keefer said. “We also went out to Indiana Wesleyan for a team camp this summer and played against great competition.”
David Gordon and Ryan Shank will return to assist Keefer this season, helping to push players to reach their potential. Brandon Lioi, a 2016 Carlow graduate and a player on the inaugural 2014-15 Celtics team, also joins the coaching staff this season.
Carlow will compete in two tournaments this season, the Indiana University East Tip-Off Tournament and the Pikeville Tournament, prior to the beginning of conference play.
The Celtics held their first official practice on Tuesday, Oct. 11. They will play their first scrimmage at CCAC on Thursday, Oct. 27. The first official game will be played at Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7pm.