Stewart returns as men's basketball opens season Friday at home

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Colby College men's basketball team opens the season Friday minus nearly every impact player from last year's 16-9 squad.

The Mules will play Pine Manor College at 5 p.m. Friday in the opening game of the Colby Classic. Regis College and Fitchburg State play the other contest at 7 p.m. The consolation game is Saturday at 1 p.m., with the championship set for a 3 p.m. start. Both of Colby's games will be webcast at http://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/colby/
 

Colby would have lost seven seniors from last year's team. However, co-captain Patrick Stewart (Bangor, Maine) is back after leading NCAA Division III in 3-point field goal percentage (52.3). Stewart, who missed his entire junior year with an injury, is earning his teaching certification. He averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and shot 88.7 percent at the foul line.

"The team will be deep and balanced, allowing us to play different combinations on any given night," Colby head coach Damien Strahorn said. "Our skill level and ability to make shots, coupled with a fast pace, should make for an exciting season."
 

The return of Stewart is key after the Mules also lost juniors Pat Dickert (Hatfield, Mass.) and Tony Karalekas (Naples, Fla.) to injury problems. Dickert is a co-captain with Stewart.

Senior guard Joe Connelly (Brookline, Mass.) played with the Select Team Basketball Goodwill Tour during a trip to Spain in August. Connelly averaged 3.2 points in 12.5 minutes per game, but will start and see more playing time and shots this year.
 

Sophomore point guard Maximilian Steiner (pictured, Washington, D.C.) and first-year off guard Ethan Schlager (Washington, D.C.) are expected to start. Steiner did not play many minutes last year, but the Mules were loaded at the point guard spot. Schlager is one of eight first-year players on the roster. Both players could play either position.

"The eight first-years are very talented and will make an impact this year," Strahorn said. "With losing so much productivity to graduation, guys are excited about carving out new roles."
 

Sean Gilmore (San Francisco, Calif.), a 6-foot-7 first-year is expected to be the other starter. He will need to help out the 6-6 Stewart on the boards. 

Junior Sam Joaquin (Ashland, Mass.) and sophomores Steven Daley (Westwood, Mass.) and Dean Weiner (Tenafly, N.J.) all return at the forward spot. Peter Xue (San Diego, Calif.), a 6-foot-8 forward, also should make an impact in his first year along with classmate Xavier Proctor (Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.).
 

Junior guard Devaughn Riley (Dorchester, Mass.) returns, but just ended his football season last Saturday. First-years Sam Jefferson (Newton, Mass.), Alex Dorion (Needham, Mass.), Ronan Schwarz (Brookline, Mass.), and Tyler Williams (North Branford, Conn.) will all see time at guard.

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