If you frequent Ramapo’s Bradley Center, then you’re probably familiar with the constant sound of basketballs being bounced, passed and dunked reverberating off of the Auxiliary Gym’s polished, wooden floors.
More of those sounds will be returning very soon as the men’s basketball team will kick off its season next Friday. With 21 returning players and an already established sense of team chemistry, it looks to be another successful season for the Roadrunners. Plus, with so much dedication and passion for the sport, it is no surprise that last year the Ramapo men’s basketball team went 16-10 last year, going 12-6 in the conference.
Almost every day during the gym’s late night hours, when it is at its emptiest, as most students are calling it a night after a long day of classes and studying, you can walk by the basketball gym and see the same men training and practicing on their own time. This was a commitment they made the very day the last season ended.
One of those select few is Nick Stanek, a junior forward. Stanek, who scored 123 points and saw action in 24 games in the 2015-16 season, explained the team’s mentality:
“We have to prepare day in and day out for upcoming opponents,” said Stanek. “We can’t look too far into the future just yet; we have to focus on the now.”
Senior guard Cory Soanes said, “We have a lot of great talent, returning leaders and new players that will help contribute to us going far in the conference.” Soanes played in 16 games and scored 114 points last year.
“We fell short in the playoffs last year, which was unfortunate,” he continued. “If we just continue to work hard and listen to what our coaches tell us day in and day out, we should be fine.”
The men’s basketball team’s coaching staff, although often heard shouting sternly from the sidelines at games, encourages the team members to perform at their highest level. This is a coaching technique that is not only effective, but also highly respected by the players.
Stanek, Soanes and junior guard Josh Ford can all agree that their coaches instill a strong sense of confidence and responsibility in them, and will attest that they are a “wonderful coaching staff” that adequately trains and prepares them for each team that they face.
Head coach Chuck McBreen, Ramapo’s first full-time basketball coach, will be entering his 19th season as head coach. During his time here, he has been named Ramapo College Coach of the Year in both basketball and tennis. In 2002-03 and 2004-05 he was named NJAC, Met Writers and NABC Atlantic Region Coach of the Year as well. During the 2002-03 season, McBreen set school records for overall wins (26), conference wins (17) and consecutive wins (17). Alongside him are assistant coaches Frank Codina, Rasheen Gadsen, Pat Gabriele, Trevor Williams and Ed Ward.
With the season starting in just a little over a week, the Roadrunners feel thoroughly prepared and confident due to all of the work they have put in during the off-season.
“We have a great group of guys who all get along with each other and are willing to work hard daily,” said Ford, a junior guard who started in all 25 games his sophomore year and averaged 10.1 points per game.
“We’re all willing to make sacrifices in order to reach an NJAC Championship,” he added. “Even though we feel prepared moving forward, we still need to continue to work hard.”