The Hilbert Hawks Men’s Basketball team is off to a good start for the 2022 – 2023 season.
The Hawks are currently sitting at .500 with a record of 3-3 overall and sit at first place in conference play despite not playing a conference game as of yet.
“Winning a college basketball game is not easy, “said head coach Rob deGrandpre, “Being more disciplined and executing when games are on the line would assist us greatly. We have some young players that are learning how to manage games in critical situations. We’ve had the luxury of playing at home in five of our first six games. The job will definitely get more challenging when we hit conference play and face more nights on the road.”
DeGrandpre said he believes the team needs to work on defending in order to keep playing basketball at a high level.
“Scoring isn’t a problem for this team,” he said. “We have lots of guys that can put up points. But playing great defense and helping one another on the defensive end has to be a priority if we are going to get where we want to go. At the end of the day, if you want to be a great player, you have to dedicate yourself to being great on both ends of the floor. We have good players that are learning this component of college basketball.”
On Friday November 11th, the Hawks opened their season with the annual Hawks Against Hunger Tip-off Tournament against Morrisville State. In the first half, it looked like it was going to be a close game as the score at halftime was 43-38 in favor of Hawks. However, that began to change in the second half as the Hawks began to pull away out scoring Morrisville State 47-30 winning the game with a final score of 90-68. The Hawks were led by guard Quran Briggs with 18 points, and forward Jahmel Demery with 15 points.
In their most recent game on Tuesday November 29th, the Hawks hosted Medaille College. In the first half, the Hawks looked like the better team overall, leading the Mavericks by a score of 48-38 at the half. By the second half, the Hawks continued to out play Medaille outscoring them 39-33. When the clock hit zero, the Hawks dominated Medaille, beating them 87-71. Forwards Nevada Eldridge and Jahmel Demery led the Hawks in points, 15 and 14 respectively.
Forward Jahmel Demery said he was proud of the way he and the team have performed so far this season.
“I think as a player, I played pretty good in the first game,” Demery said. “The team’s performance was good, but there are still a few things we need to work on. Last games performance was great for me as a player, and for the team as well. That was our first time playing a full complete game overall. As a player my goal is to remain consistent and to continue to play at a high level while pushing my teammates to play better and work harder each day in order to improve our overall performance on the court.”
The Hawks have proved that they are a much better team than their record shows. Many players have contributed to the Hawks success so far, but there are a few that stand out. Sophomore guard Quran Briggs leads the Hawks in scoring with 116 total points (19.3 points per game), and fellow sophomore forward Nevada Eldridge, second in scoring with 73 total points (12.2 points per game). Junior Jahmel Demery leads the Hawks in rebounds with 45 total rebounds and 7.7 rebounds per game.
“Our group never appears to be satisfied. They like challenges, and truly see themselves as being able to compete for post season play come February”, deGrandpre said. “There are a lot of games left to be played (3-3, 0-0). We’ll prepare the team like we always have… one opponent at a time.”
The Hawks look to keep up the great work this season as they travel to Aurora, New York on Tuesday December 6th to take on a well-coached Wells College Express team, but look to get the job done.
“Wells College is a good program and they are well coached”, deGrandpre said. “We have spent the week combing through film and putting in some extra fundamental work in practice which we feel will be beneficial as we play out the rest of the semester.”