Compiling a 21-6 record in 1995-1996, the Lord Jeffs enter the season as two-time ECAC Champions. With a talented team behind them, Senior Tri-Captains Jamal Wilson (19.2 ppg, 4.7 rbs), Chris Akers (7.0 ppg, 4.5 rbs) and George Charles look to lead their team to a fourth consecutive appearance in post-season play.
"The most difficult thing this season is to replace our backcourt," noted Head Coach Dave Hixon. "If we solve this issue, we'll be a good team and the NCAA is not unreachable. We're very strong throughout, except at the 1- and 2- positions."
A young Jeff squad took Amherst to the Elite Eight of the 1994 NCAA tournament, and this year's experienced team hopes to reclaim a berth in '97. Anchored by a seasoned frontcourt, the Jeffs will first have to replace three-year starting guards Dan Moses '96 and Keith Poopor '96. The tandem graduated with Moses as the 8th leading scorer with 1,177 points, and Poopor as the career steals leader with 283.
Though filling those shoes will not be easy, Hixon is optimistic about the talent of his players. "We have a bunch of good, mid-sized athletes who know how to play the game. They can shoot, defend and run with reasonable ball-handling skills. We have a solid group other than a point guard. I hope the other kids can do the bulk of the work until we find one."
In the running for ball-handler are 6'1" Charles, 6'2"-junior Jamie Horowitz and 6'1"-sophomore Caith Chapman. At shooting guard, Wilson's athleticism is complemented by 6'4"-swing man Julian "Bubba" Rowand '98 (4.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and 3-point wiz Chris Ingraham '99 (4.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg). Juniors John Pavelski and Billy Skorupski join Akers under the hoop in the frontcourt. Combined, they average 24.2 points-per-game and 13.8 rebounds. Akers and Skorupski lead the team in field goal percentage (63.1% and 52.7%), while Pavelski stands steady at the line with an 86.8% free throw percentage. A new floor for LeFrak Gymnasium will help to keep the team healthy this season. Made of state-of-the-art material, the 60% shock-absorbency will minimize the knee and back aches caused by the old cement floor.