Men’s Basketball Endures Disappointing Regular Season

The 2013-2014 Ramapo College men’s basketball team finished their season with a disappointing 9-16 overall record and 6-12 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Coming into this season, the Roadrunners were the team to beat after taking first place in the NJAC, winning the NJAC tournament and gaining a berth into the NCAA tournament. Replicating last year’s success was  a tough task, but it was much harder for the team as they saw five seniors and starters graduate. There weren’t many positives to take away, but this season proved to be an opportunity for growth, development and experience.

Coming into his 16th year, Ramapo head coach Chuck McBreen is not accustomed to this level of play. The Roadrunners ranked dead last in the NJAC for points allowed, giving up 77.6 points per game. McBreen was quick to point out this weakness and how it hindered his team’s success.

“Our lack of athleticism and our commitment to defense,” he said. “We couldn’t guard anybody this year.”

In many sports, the record doesn’t always accurately describe a team’s capabilities. Especially basketball, where games routinely come down to the final possession. Ramapo is no stranger to late game heartbreaks as they lost six games by five points or less. They were also on the other side of an exciting finish in this year’s 99-96 overtime win against rival William Paterson. McBreen hoped this Jan. 15 victory would inspire his team and turn the season around.

“Our win at William Paterson, we went up there and knocked them out of first, and I really thought that was going to jumpstart us to something good,” he said.

Unfortunately, Ramapo could never right the ship as they were only able to secure two wins after that game and finished the season on a five-game losing streak.

The team will graduate three seniors this year: Terry Hicks, Jermaine Emmanuel and Patrick O’Connell, so the men will definitely need players to step up and fill the void. Hicks led the team in scoring, averaging 14.9 per game and shooting 40 percent from the field. Emmanuel wasn’t far behind, scoring 13.9 points per game and knocking down 1.8 from behind the arc each game. O’Connell, a four-year member of the squad, did not have as big of an impact on the court, but his experience and leadership in the locker room is surely going to be missed.

Looking toward the future, sophomore Frank Nock had a great season, leading the Roadrunners in rebounds, assists and minutes played. Nock was also the team’s second leading scorer, going for 14.4 a night. McBreen knows he has a talented young player and looks forward to what is still to come.

“With Frank Nock, he has a huge upside; he was our best all-around player all year long,” he said, “so he has a bright, bright future for us.”

With last year’s championship run and 14 of 16 winning seasons under his belt, McBreen has set a standard for Ramapo basketball, making this season’s failure that much harder to swallow.

“This year has really demoralized me,” he said. “It was a major disappointment…we have to start over and focus on next year.”