Hilbert Basketball Hoops with Kanye Brown

In early March, a week before the school closed in response to the pandemic, country music star Kayne Brown came to Hilbert to unwind and play shoot some hoops. Student athlete Jesse Price was on the court when Brown arrived with his large entourage.

“Kayne was amazing,” Price said. “It was an awesome experience. After we hooped, he gave us tickets to his concert and backstage passes. Such amazing people and had a very great time.”

If back on that Saturday in March Kayne had expected to leisurely just shoot hoops, he was wrong.

Born in New Zealand, Jesse has called Australia home since he was 6 years old. In high school Jesse played varsity basketball.

“I have been playing basketball since I was six,” he said, “I love and embrace the journey to get better every day.”

With relatives in Los Angeles and Seattle, Price said he is a Seattle Seahawks fan. He said once he wore his Seahawks jersey on campus and “talked trash” about how they would beat the Bills. He jokingly said afterwards, he couldn’t leave his room for a few days for obvious reasons. He now knows he’s in Bills country.

Price is a criminal justice major who plans on attending law school.

Outside of basketball and school, Price enjoys playing golf and watching football and baseball. He also enjoys relaxing in front of the TV as well as an occasional movie. Of course there is always the fun of hanging around with fellow students.

When asked about his decision to attend Hilbert, Jesse said coach Andrew DeGranpere played a major role.

“I formed a great relationship with Coach DeGrandpre and that was a big part in me coming to the college,” Price said.

Hilbert Women’s Soccer Coach Sees Bright Future

On any given NCAA Division 1 team, there can be a multitude of staff delegated to perform certain roles. But for Hilbert College Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jenna Castricone, most of it falls on her.

As a division III program Hilbert doesn’t have the funding or staffing of big programs so, like many of her colleagues at that level, she needs to wear many hats to keep her team going

“It’s a lot more than I assumed coming in, but I’ve been grateful,” Castricone said.

It shows.

In speaking of her return to the Hawks in 2019 Castricone, a Hilbert soccer alumnus, said returning to her old stomping grounds has been great.

“I was excited and glad to be back here,” Castricone said. “I love the school and I love the atmosphere.”

Castricone, who also played softball and earned her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management went on to get her Master’s in Sports Administration at Canisius College. Along the way, she was an assistant coach.

“I’m very appreciative to be given the chance to get the team on track,” she said.

During her first season, Castricone faced several challenges. First and foremost, she knew a re-build was in order, with the number of players dwindling. Second, some of the players were new to the game and came onto the team as walk on’s. Towards the end, Castricone said the team made improvements

“Offense scored nine goals last season,” she said. “Even that slight improvement is the right way up”.

Still, defense was identified as a critical area.

Castricone has spent a considerable amount of time scouting and recruiting. It is the kind of work that makes the part time job seem full time and her efforts show a promising season.

“I have a strong freshmen class and they’re even challenging the seniors,” Castricone said.

The freshmen class includes five experienced players whom she is confident will help, as well as one Sophomore walk-on.

“Four additional recruits would have been on the roster but circumstances surrounding COVID prevented them from playing,” She said. “Even so, the next class that will be brought in for 2021 is going to be even better and I’m looking to get the team back into the playoffs.”

From Thanksgiving break until February, it will be up to the individual players themselves to maintain peak physical conditioning. Castricone said.

“(The players) need to be fit and touching the ball at least 4 days a week,” she said.

In terms of overlap, some student athletes participate in other sports such as volleyball and basketball which makes injuries and fatigue a concern, let alone COVID, for Castricone. To help, Castricone prepared a work out package which consists of weight training, endurance skills (sprints, tempo runs), and ball drills.

Castricone said the off-season improvements look promising.

And there’s one adage she believes sums up the situation: “Small improvements help in the long run.”

UB Football to Play for Championship

The University at Buffalo Football team has put together a great season defeating the defending MAC champions, the University of Miami Ohio Red Hawks, in spectacular fashion on Tuesday evening. Kyle Vantrease, a junior from Stow, Ohio, threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-10 dismantling of the defending champs. This win comes just six days after the first victory of the season where the Bulls beat the 2018 MAC champions, the Northern Illinois Huskies.

Coming out of the gates, in a season that the players and coaches didn’t even believe was going to happen for a period of two months, and beating the last two winners of the conference is as impressive of a start as anybody could have predicted.

Adam Fron, a graduate assistant for the UB football team, described the chemistry that the team has developed throughout the rocky start to the season. “I think it has brought a lot of us closer together,” Fron said. “We are all doing our best to avoid being in close contact with people outside the program, which has set it up pretty nicely for guys to form strong bonds. This is the closest-knit group that I have ever been a part of”.

A short three months ago, Coach Lance Leipold and his staff were under the impression that there would be no season. The Mid-American Conference became the first conference to officially cancel its season on August 8th.

This caused a string of panic throughout the college sports world as many other conferences were quick to follow. It was not until close to two months later that on September 26th the conference made an announcement that there would now be a shortened season. Michael Peters, another graduate assistant for the Bulls said that the team was hoping that they were going to get to play, but they had their doubts as positive tests were still in abundance on campus and all over Buffalo.

“Coach Leipold is as professional as they come, He kept the players ready incase we were put in this situation,” Peters said. “We badly wanted to play as we have 25 seniors and four graduate students on the team whose careers could have been ended by a canceled season.”

Seniors that are currently playing in the five conferences that are currently playing college football, were in a tough spot because on August 21st the NCAA extended eligibility for all fall sports by a year. That means that the seniors currently playing could technically come back for another year even though they participated in a shortened season. It will be interesting to see if any players try to exercise that and how the NCAA will respond.

UB football hit the ground running this season despite having to deal with all the other things that 2020 has brought with it. Leipold and the rest of the staff have the team ready to compete for a MAC championship and according to multiple sports books including BetOnline and Ceasers, they are currently favored to do so.

Storylines: Bills vs. Cardinals

Editor’s note: This story was shared with The Scribe by Couch Guy Sports.

After beating the Seattle Seahawks last week, the 7-2 Buffalo Bills will travel to Arizona for a battle with the 5-3 Cardinals. In this article, I will break down a couple of things that I will be keeping my eye on in this game.

Josh vs. Kyler

Week 10 fantasy football rankings: Kyler Murray vs. Josh Allen highlights matchups to prep for

Not only will we see two upcoming teams battle, but we will also see two young promising quarterbacks go head to head. Josh Allen and Kyler Murray will face off for the first time on Sunday and it will be an exciting matchup to watch. According to Pro Football Reference, Murray has 2,130 passing yards and 543 rushing yards. He has eight rushing touchdowns, 16 passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. For Allen, he has 241 rushing yards and rushed for five touchdowns. When it comes to passing, the Bills quarterback has 2,587 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. It will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday, but I am looking forward to see Allen and Murray duel.

Tre vs. D-Hop

DeAndre Hopkins passes Andre Johnson in playoff receptions

Whenever you get a chance to see a top cornerback and a top wide receiver battle it out, you know it’s going to be entertaining. However, Tre’Davious White vs. DeAndre Hopkins will be even more entertaining. The history behind these two stars go back to last year before the wild card game between the Bills and Texans. Before the game, Hopkins posted a picture on his social media showing Hopkins catching a ball while White was defending him. The caption said “2020 mood.” Below is the picture Hopkins used before he deleted it.

Texans' Deshaun Watson planning to go at Bills' Tre White, likes match up with DeAndre Hopkins - syracuse.com

We’re in for a great battle between two good teams and it will be a fun game to watch. You can catch the game on CBS @4:05 pm.

Hilbert Women’s Soccer Players Adjust To New Protocols

The Hilbert Women’s Soccer team is having to adapt to many new changes and precautions this upcoming spring season. 

The team had to adapt many new protocols because of COVID-19, including the delay of the season, new practice times and a different schedule.  There were many new restrictions added this year because of the pandemic. 

Sophomore Amber Stuck said this season had many new changes, but she is looking forward to the spring.

“We will have probably around eight games which would be playing each team in the conference once,” Stuck said. “I think we start around March/April and it will probably be a month and a half to two months long.”

This means that the team will have a few less games than usual but will still be able to play each team at least once. 

Freshman Paige Wagner said she is happy to be seeing her teammates at all, given the circumstances.

“I expected to not even begin practicing yet this year because of COVID, so I’m glad we are able to practice,” Wagner said. “I really enjoy being on the team so far and I am excited for if and when we get to play games.”

The team is still able to practice.  They have a special sanitizing crew that sanitizes all equipment after every practice.  They practice twice a week in separate groups. 

Sophomore Macy Kisner said everyone is still getting used to the new protocols.

“Every practice, my team and I have to wear masks walking over to the field, where our temperatures are taken before every practice,” Kisner said. “We practice in groups of ten, so we stay separate from each other.”

The season does have lots of minor changes like taking temperatures before practice, creation of the sanitation crew and a different game schedule than last year. 

But, even with all these new changes put in place this year, the team seems excited and ready to play in the spring, Paige Wagner, a team captain said.

“I can’t wait see what the future holds for this team and this coming season,” Wagner said.

Memorable Blue Jays’ Stay in Buffalo

There were a few surprise teams that made the MLB playoffs in this shortened season, including the Toronto Blue Jays. Because of Covid-19, the season got cut down from 162 games to 60 games and the playoff format was expanded. With the season being shorter, every game was a must win. The Blue Jays have some young players who have promising futures in the league. Despite getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card round, the future is bright for the Jays.

With the Canadian government not allowing the Blue Jays to play in Toronto, the team played their home games in Buffalo, home of their Triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. The play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, Pat Malacaro, had the opportunity to be the PA announcer for the games in Buffalo. I was able to talk to him about the Blue Jays season.

When asked about the expectations for the team, Malacaro said, “Expectations in March were finishing third place in the division (AL East) and hoping to contend for a wild card spot.”

Once the season was shortened to 60 games, then making the playoffs was actually a possibility. In order to make the playoffs, every single player would have a to contribute and they did, he said.

“A lot of guys contributed they were figuring out who they were” Malacaro added.

Some of the MVP candidates for the team were infielder Cavan Biggio and Teoscar Hernandez. A couple of acquisitions from the trade deadline that could help the team not spend big money in free agency are two pitchers, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker. “If the Jays hang on to these players, it will help the development of the pitchers in the minor leagues” said Malacaro.

Looking to next season, Pat thinks shortstop Bo Bichette will take a big step. “If he’s consistent with his offense, he can be the lead-off hitter” said Malacaro. One player who struggled was Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is considered one of the best prospects in the entire league. He’s known for his power so you think he would be hitting a lot of home runs. Well he didn’t do a lot of that this during the regular season.

“His biggest issue is getting into baseball shape” Malacaro said. “Covid-19 didn’t help because routine is a big thing for baseball players. Going forward, if he can get into good shape going forward, then he will be successful.”

The future is bright for the Blue Jays. It’s a possibility they will be a powerhouse in the few years.

Sabres Trade for Veteran Center Staal

Yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild made a deal. Buffalo sent Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Eric Staal. At first, I was confused. However, after I did some research, I like this deal for the Sabres. Last season, Johansson showed some signs of being productive but didn’t play up to level we expected him to. Recording only 30 points (9 G, 21 A), he really wasn’t much of a factor.

When I looked at Staal stats, they were better than I expected. With 47 points (19 G, 28 A), this is a good pickup for Buffalo. Even though he’s getting up there in age, I feel like he can be a reliable player for the Sabres. The team also gets a position they needed, a second line center. Now it’s up to General Manager Kevyn Adams to get more players who can score. I would like to see Buffalo get a player like Tyler Toffoli, Mike Hoffman or Tomas Hertl. It’s not a major pickup but I think Staal will be decent for the Sabres.

Phillips and Martineau Reflect on Four Years of Hilbert Basketball

Hunter Martineau and Masia Phillips are both four year Hilbert men’s basketball team members. The two guards came in together as freshmen, both far away from their homes, and built a bond right here in Hamburg. Phillips, who is from Queens in New York City, has made a name for himself with the program. He is well accomplished in the sport having scored over 1,000 points and received all conference honors. Phillips, a program great, is Top 10 in ten of the program’s statistical categories.

Martineau, a modest kid from Erie, Pennsylvania, has also left his mark on program history. Hunter accumulated 1,000 points over his career and now sits at the top in assists for Hilbert’s basketball program. Hunter isn’t new to awards and acknowledgement, he has received all conference honors all 4 years and was once named team MVP. What’s even more impressive than that, while being a beast on the court, he is also a beast in the classroom. Hunter was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National Honor Society.

The Scribe reached out to both Phillips and Martineau to talk about their experiences with the program and also the community surrounding the school. In addition, we got to hear about the hardships they faced, the brotherhood that was formed, and a little sneak peek into their future endeavors.

The Scribe: Masia, you grew up in New York City, the mecca of basketball. Can you explain how basketball was a part of your early life and how it moved you forward as a person?

Masia Phillips: My older siblings and cousins all played basketball. I got to grow up watching them play. As I got older, I just got into it around 6 years old. I was playing in a house ball coached by my mother. I started meeting friends through basketball and continued that through middle and high school, and college. That’s why I love the game so much.

TS: Hunter, amongst other things, you are known by your incredible self-discipline and willpower. Can you tell us how basketball helped you develop self-discipline and do you use that skill in your everyday life?

martineau_lay_up

Courtesy of Hilbert College Athletics

Hunter Martineau: Basketball taught me self-discipline, if you want to be the best, you have to train like the best. You have discipline yourself to get up every day, get in the gym, get in the weight room. You can use that discipline to do homework, getting up and going to class.

TS: What can you guys tell us about playing for Hilbert? How difficult was the transition from high school to college?

MP: The transition was pretty tough, the game is much faster, much more you need to learn.

HM: The transition for me personally was a bit different. My high school had 4,000 students, Hilbert is only pushing 1,000 if that. Some of the high schools had teams that were just as competitive, but the games were slower because Florida schools don’t have a shot clock, it was a different game. (Masia) I think there was more competition in high school because everyone plays together, there are teams with multiple Division 1 talent.

TS: For Your tenure on the team, you have seen players come and go. What has helped you two to stay focused and committed to the program for 4 years.

HM: My family loves to watch me play, if I was quitting on myself, I was also quitting on them as well. At the same time, my passion for the game, I don’t think I would ever quit unless it’s for dire circumstances.

MP: I had lots of thoughts of leaving the program, but I always had my family to keep me in a space where I can forget about it and just play. If it wasn’t for my family or the love I have for the game, the story would’ve been different.

TS: How do you guys balance being a student athlete?

HM: I try not to save everything for the last minute, whether it’s homework, you want to get shots up, or spending time with your significant others.

MP: I just try my best to know and remember my schedule.

TS: Are the accomplishments something you guys set out for? How did you balance personal goals and team goals?

HM: I’m not much of a scorer, so the 1,000 points is something that I never set out to do, but was pretty cool. I’ve always been a passer, it wasn’t a goal of mine, but I saw it happening if I played well. Those records really don’t mean much, you never want to let them get to your head.

MP: In high school, I never got to the 1,000 points. That kind of bothered me because I was a 4 year varsity player. It was personal for me to get 1,000 points, but that never got in the way of goals that the team had.

TS: What can you guys say about the brotherhood formed with teammates and the relationships built with classmates?

HM: I’m very fortunate for all the guys that have come through here. I truly believe that there were mostly good guys that came through. The amount of friendships and relationships I have built is the reason why you come to a small school like this.

MP: Being on a sports team, you get to know people real quick and people get to know you real quick.

TS: Why did you guys pick Hilbert?

HM: I’m from Erie, Pa (Lived in Orlando for 9 years where he played high school ball), the school isn’t too far, I have good support nearby, and it seemed like a good fit.

MP: The biggest city in the nation has a lot of problems sometimes. I just wanted to get away from home, and challenge myself to be on my own.

TS: Having lived here for four years, what can you say about life in WNY? Is there a possibility of you coming back?

MP: Buffalo is a calm city, I like it. It’s not that big of a rush, no crazy night life. Definitely not what I’m used to, but I got used to it. I don’t know if i can start my life after college here, but I’ll definitely come back and visit.

HM: Buffalo is a great city. It’s actually very similar to earlier where I grew up. As long as there’s an airport that can connect me back home to Orlando, I’ll always consider Buffalo as a second home. Bills fans are very passionate, and I love Buffalo wings.

TS: What are your future plans for education and basketball? Is it over?

HM:  For me at least, I think my basketball career in a competitive sense is over. I’ll be doing mens league and coaching but I’m done. I plan on working my way up to an athletic director.

MP: Basketball wise, as of right now is over, I’ll still be playing here and there. I want to become a risk analyst, I also want to work for the city of New York.