By Lee Finkelstein
Last season for the Kutztown men’s basketball team was one that they would like to forget. A season plagued with injury and illness caused the Golden Bears’ worst season in 10 years. With the team having six players on the roster at one point last season, Head coach Bernie Driscoll should be glad he has a full squad this year.
Driscoll enters his 14th season as head coach of the men’s basketball team at Kutztown. He holds a 208-157 (.570) overall record, and a 101-80 (.558) record in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). He is the winningest basketball coach in Kutztown history, and has won three PSAC East titles in the past five years.
“We learned a lot from last season, both as a team and as a coaching staff, and I think that will end up paying dividends for us down the road,” Driscoll said. “With the overall qualities of this year’s team, both on and off the court, I feel our program is heading in the right direction.”
With only five returning members of the Golden Bears last season, there are 12 new players to fill out the roster, 10 of which are freshman. The team is expected to be lead by 6-6 senior Guard, Tyler Brooks.
Being the only senior on his team, Brooks will take the role of leader of this new squad. He averaged career-highs in scoring (11.7) and rebounding (6.8) last season, and will be asked to help guide Kutztown’s young squad. Coach Driscoll expects him to be less selfless and raise his scoring average.
The other two returning players are sophomores Ryan Connolly and Tracy Pea, who are coming off solid freshman campaigns. Peal averaged more than 10 points per game while grabbing 6.5 rebounds. Connolly, who is recovering from shoulder surgery in the offseason, is a pure three point shooter and knocked down 44 three-pointers. He averaged nearly nine points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds.
Freshman Josh Johnson is expected to play a big role down low along with starting guards Elijah Jackson and Austin Beidelman.
KU had their first game of the season Saturday in which they pulled out a 62-58 win. The Golden Bears look to win their second straight game on Wednesday against Wilmington at home.