After enjoying its best season in a decade last winter, enthusiasm is running high for the start of the 2019-20 UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball season, as Head Coach Brian Baptiste welcomes back experienced veterans and welcomes in talented newcomers for his 37th campaign on the South Coast.
Baptiste, who enters the year five wins shy of the 650-career victory plateau, guided his squad to a 19-7 overall mark and a trip to the Little East Conference semifinals last season, and the longtime mentor looks to add to the program’s storied tradition of success with a solid nucleus back in the fold.
The Corsair program has been built on standout leadership and example provided over the years, and that will continue this winter with senior Marquis Jones (Randolph, Mass./Braintree) and junior Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass./Bourne) serving as UMass Dartmouth’s co-captains.
“Marquis has a team first attitude, and he has earned a bigger role on the team this season,” Baptiste said. “Jake is the vocal leader of our team, and he is blessed with a ton of energy he brings to practice every day. Both of our captains are true leaders by example that will bring intensity to each practice and game situation.”
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 2019-20 edition of Corsair Men’s Basketball:
GUARD. Ashworth leads the way in the Corsair backcourt after earning all-Little East accolades a year ago, as he averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists while connecting for a team-leading 68 three-pointers. Sophomore Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) worked his way into the starting lineup as a rookie and averaged 10.6 points, four rebounds, 3.8 assists and nearly two steals per outing, while fellow sophomore Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass./Apponequet) provided solid play off the bench in averaging 7.4 point and canning 14 treys as a newcomer.
Jones, who can also play at the forward spot, combined with sophomore Dhalyn Sanders-Dyer (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) to average six points nearly six caroms per contest for Baptiste, who also welcomes back junior Marcus Wright (Mattapan, Mass./Boston Latin School) into the guard mix. Junior Roy Sweets (Baltimore, Md./Capitol Christian Academy) joins freshmen John Martins Jr. (Taunton, Mass./Taunton) and Taylor Carlson (Wareham, Mass./Wareham) as newcomers in the backcourt for UMass Dartmouth this winter.
FORWARD. The graduation of all-Little East performer Arinze Obiora leaves a void in the front court for the Corsairs, but Baptiste has pair of experienced returnees in sophomore Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson) and senior Harry Alexander (Washington, D.C./Redemption Charter) ready to step in at the forward spots. Leahy enjoyed a solid first collegiate campaign by averaging 7.6 points and 4.5 rebounds while connecting for 21 three-pointers, while Alexander added five points and 4.3 caroms off the bench in 20 appearances.
Sophomore Matt Valles (Fairhaven, Mass./Old Rochester) adds size to UMass Dartmouth’s attack up front, and the Corsairs will also look for contributions at the forward position from freshman Sequan Dare (Dorchester, Mass./New Mission).
SCHEDULE. Baptiste’s crew begins the new year on Friday, November 8th when UMass Dartmouth welcomes Roger Williams to the Tripp Athletic Center for a 7:30 pm EST tipoff. The Corsairs will also host Brandeis and Bridgewater State in non-league play while taking on Husson, Bard and Trinity in the Lafrance Hospitality Tournament during the weekend of November 15-16.
UMass Dartmouth hits the road for non-conference clashes with Salem State and Tufts while also venturing to Miami Shores, Fla. to take on Case Western Reserve and Scranton at the 2019 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout. Baptiste’s squad begins Little East Conference action on Saturday, November 23rd with a trip to Southern Maine, as the Corsairs will once again play a league double round-robin that concludes on Saturday, February 22nd.