NPH CIS Team Preview: McMaster Marauders
Head Coach: Amos Connolly
Assistant Coaches: Rod Bynum, Scott Britain, Justin Gunter
2012-2013 Record: 13-8
Key Players: Taylor Black, Adam Presutti, Aaron Redpath
Departures: Scott Laws, Brett Sanders, James Spurrit
“This has been the best summer we’ve had for sure”
The first words that came from McMaster Head Coach Amos Connolly over the phone, when asked how the team was looking.
This is a great sign if you are a Marauder fan, as Connolly and his staff have bolstered their roster with high level guards in Trevon McNeil and Hamid Nessek [both NPH Top-40 prospects], to go along with super athletic Leon Alexander and “dark horse” James Miles as Connolly put it.
In addition, “We had everyone in town which was great because they were able to train together.”
This year’s version of the Marauders, set to make major noise, should not lack chemistry as the deep returning core of Aaron Redpath, Taylor Black, Joe Rocca, Rohan Boney [OUA Rookie of theyear], and of course a now healthy Adam Presutti will be a year older, and that much better.
Presutti was plagued with injury for most of last season, and as a result McMaster sorely missed their lead guard, forcing Connolly to be creative in his rotations, while having players step out of their natural positions to fill the void.
This time around, not only does MAC now have back up firepower in freshman McNeil and Nessek, but Presutti is also back to 100% with the guards challenging each other in practice.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen him physically; he’s quicker and his decision making is better, he is comfortable with the guys,” said Connolly, referring to Presutti’s status.
“I feel I’ve trained at a level this summer that I haven’t reached before…as a player, I’ll get what I earn, and we will get what we earn as a team,” Presutti told NPH.
At this point, roles are not completely secure or defined with the level of talent on the team–a luxury for the coaching staff.
“I like the competition in practice, I think it’s great when we have battles, legit battles,” explained Connolly.
The word is, Trevon McNeil is even better than advertised, excelling throughout the off-season work outs. Hamid Nessek is as tough as they come, and Leon Alexander has been referred to as a “freak.”
However, the story will be what OUA All-star Taylor Black brings to the table this season, according to Connolly.
Black averaged 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season, and is an interior presence on both ends of the floor.
McMaster seems to have all the pieces in place for a big season ahead with talent, experience, chemistry…and Connolly will not shy away from it.
“This is a year we have to get nationals…we made a Wilson Cup appearance [two years ago] and have been in some battles,” explained Connolly.
No conversation about the CIS title goes without mention of the Carleton Ravens, a major obstacle on the road to gold.
With that being said, MAC, just like every other competitive program in the league, should aim to take the number one spot.
“You can’t set your goals under winning a national championship.”