After the steady presence of six seniors last season, the Fredonia State men's basketball team will undergo a transition this year welcoming 14 new faces to the squad. Seniors Dalton Kashmer and Amir Billups - the lone returning starters - will be counted on to lead the new-look Devils this season. Big man Devin Case, a 6-6 forward, is the other Devil back from last year's roster. Add in Joe Monahan, who is back after a one-year absence, and the Devils have a solid foundation.
"We will look to be more of a perimeter scoring team this year," said head coach Kevin Moore. The Devils' top two scoring leaders from last year were big men Julius Bryant (14.2 ppg) and Damien Goodwin III (9.4 ppg). The team finished 13-12 overall and 8-10 and in sixth place in the SUNYAC a year ago.
Billups is expected to be one of the main perimeter threats. He led the team in that department with 52 three-pointers last year, ranking sixth in the conference. His 40 percent accuracy rate was fourth in the SUNYAC.
Fredonia State’s Dalton?Kashmer will be looked upon to score inside for the Blue Devils.
Kashmer, a 6-3 guard, added 19 threes of his own. He will also be counted on to score from the inside. "Dalton will pick up some of the slack [from losing Julius]. He's ready to step up and has shown aggressiveness driving to the hoop."
Another three-point threat will be Monahan. Monahan chipped in 12.1 ppg as a sophomore and connected for 28 three-pointers. "Joe has a renewed appreciation for his opportunity after missing last season," said Moore. His veteran savvy will be counted on.
Case made 13 starts a year ago, and with a year of Moore's system under his belt after transferring from Niagara County Community College, is expected to provide a bigger role. "Devin is in better shape and has gotten stronger. He will provide defense and rebounding, and defend the post."
To help fill the gaps from graduation, a quartet of junior college transfers was added: Ray Parris, Zach Edwards, Tyrone Clark and Elliot Rogers.
Clark, an All Region player at TC3, is expected to make an immediate impact. He is a power forward with great athleticism and is dangerous great in the open court. Clark had 44 three-pointers and dished out 80 assists at TC3 last year, to go along with 4.7 rebounds per game.
Parris is expected to make his impact at guard. He can play either spot in the back court and defends well.
Of the nine freshmen, local Dunkirk product Kevin Holmes and Matt Deboy will make their presence felt.
Holmes has the physical maturity to compete with college-level players and at 6-2 can play in the off guard and small forward slots. Moore expects his play to pick up as the season moves on.
Deboy is 6-7 and his work ethic and busy motor could earn him a slot in the starting lineup.
The Devils have also added size to go along with their perimeter game. In addition to the 6-7 Deboy and 6-6 Case, freshman Michael Coleman and senior Adam LaQuier stand at 6-7. LaQuier is back after a one-year absence. Coleman tips the scales at 260 pounds and provides some beef under the boards. The 6-5 John Kovach will also compete for time in the frontcourt.
Moore feels the team's overall quickness and shooting range have improved from a year ago. "Our athleticism will allow us to play an up-tempo game," and with the additions of veterans Monahan and Clark, the team has several three-point threats.
Defense has always been a priority for the Blue Devils. Last season, they ranked second in the conference in allowing only 63.2 ppg. An aggressive defense will again be a strength.
If there is a challenge this year, it is for so many new faces to come together as a team and for the players to feel out their roles. Moore expects to work itself out as the season goes on, hoping to peak around playoff time.
The Devils open the season today at Hilbert College. The home opener will be part of a women's/men's doubleheader vs. D'Youville on Nov. 20.