Basketball Teams Off and Running with New Faces and Faster Paces
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 9, 2021) — The men’s and women’s basketball teams will feature a more exciting pace and key player additions when they hit the court in SEFCU Arena for their 2021-22 season openers today and tomorrow. (Tickets are available for both the men's and women's games on the UAlbany Athletics Website.)
“In transition, we want to push the ball up the court and attack early,” said first-year Men’s Head Coach Dwayne Killings, whose Great Danes have nine new faces on this year’s squad, which goes up again Towson on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“When the ball is in the half-court, we want ball movement and player movement to find the best shot possible,” said Killings. “We will play a selfless brand of basketball by being connected and sharing the ball. Defensively we will be physical and tough. Ball pressure and toughness are major keys to our defensive strategy. We want to play fast, and in order to do so we will need to get stops on the defensive end.
Key New Players:
- Dre Perry, 6’7” forward, a graduate student in marketing from Temple University. Killings: “Our relationship has grown over the years, as I recruited Dre to Temple University. Dre is as consistent as you can get as a person, player and student. I am looking forward to Dre showcasing all that he can do on the basketball court.”
- Matt Cerruti, 6’4” guard, a graduate student in communication. Killings: “Matt has proven to be one of our most reliable players. Being a Division 2 transfer, he has a lot to prove but we believe in his abilities and, most importantly, we believe in who he is as a person.”
Killings also noted the valued presence of returning starter, 6’4” guard Jamel Horton, who averaged 9.3 points and more than 3 rebounds and assists per game a year ago. “A coaching change is never easy for student-athletes. However, Jamel jumped on board right away. He's eager to carry on and promote our culture and the mentality that we are trying to create!”
Killings: “We want to get better every single day. Winning is a byproduct of behaving like champions on a daily basis. By focusing on the process of growing every day, we believe the outcome will take care of itself. We are about to embark on a journey, and we cannot wait to do so with the best and most supportive fans in the country.”
“We are looking forward to playing a faster style of basketball this year, and our added depth and parity is going to allow us to do this,” said third-year coach Colleen Mullen, whose Great Danes open against Hofstra Wednesday at 7 p.m. in SEFCU. “Our focus in the offensive end will be to push the ball and create shots for one another. In the defensive end we will continue to focus on getting stops and allowing our defense to create easy offensive opportunities.”
The Great Danes have a solid cohort of returning talent, Including four starters from the 2020-2021 season: 5’11” junior guard Grace Heeps; 6’1” junior forward Helene Haegerstrand; 6’3” senior forward Lucia Decortes and 5’11” senior guard Ellen Hahne. “All four will play a pivotal role in our leadership on and off the court,” said Associate Head Coach Megan Methven. She noted as well the return of 2020-21 America East All-Rookie team member Kayla Cooper, a 6’ 0” guard.
“We have added four new faces to this year’s roster who we are very excited to have on board.”
Key New Players
- Lilly Phillips, 5’11” freshman guard from Greenwich. Methven: “We are excited to welcome this local talent to the Great Dane family. Lilly’s length and ability to impact the game on both ends has added valuable depth to our experienced backcourt. She can score in a variety of ways and stretch the defense with her 3-point shooting ability.
- Koi Sims, 6’0” freshman forward. “Koi is an exciting, dynamic post player from the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. She is strong and athletic and creates difficult mismatches for her opponents. She can rebound the ball and start the break, which has proven to be a great addition to our transition game.”
- Freja Werth, 6’1” freshman guard from Sweden. “Freja brings a wealth of experience with her years of playing with the Swedish National Team. She has fit well in our offensive system and has the ability to create shots not only for herself, but for her teammates. She will play a variety of positions this season, and will add depth in our pressure game.
- Morgan Haney, 5’8” redshirt sophomore after sitting out a season after starting 8 games in 2019-20. “We’re excited to have Morgan back on the court this season. She missed the 2020-2021 season due to injury and she’s hit the ground running. She will help fill the void at the point guard position, while also adding depth to our front court.”
“We are very excited for the upcoming season,” Methven. “We have focused our attention on getting better every day and have made growth as a group in every practice. “Our new players have shown an ability to play within our system. They are unselfish players who have a desire to put their teammates first.”