PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season.
The Cardinals enjoyed one of the bigger turnarounds in Division III last season. After going 8-18 overall and 6-12 in SUNY Athletic Conference play in 2011-12, the Cardinals reversed that with a 20-9 overall showing and a 14-4 mark in conference play in 2012-13, comprised of a team with no seniors.
“We will be the hunted this year,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “We’ll have a bull’s-eye on our backs.”
Plattsburgh, a season ago, was awarded an at-large berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament and hosted a first-round game, which resulted in an 84-63 win over Husson College.
The Cardinals’ campaign ended in an 89-72 setback at Amherst College in the second round. Amherst would eventually win the national championship.
Plattsburgh sports a 15-player roster in 2013-14, including 12 returners and three newcomers.
“Every year is different,” Curle said. “We lost two of our last three games last season, to Cortland in the conference championship game and then at Amherst in the NCAA Tournament. The one game we won was at home against Husson. What the players learned is that it’s difficult to win on the road and you want to play as many home games as possible.
“We have to play with consistency and a sense of urgency 25 times during the regular season. We have lofty expectations and we can’t let down. We have five seniors on the team and four of them are four-year players. They have to provide that sense of urgency on the team.”
Curle liked the progress of his young team a season ago.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised with the season,” he said. “What I was pleased the most about was the progress made by the sophomores. That class came along quicker than I expected.
“And it certainly helped to have (point guard) Chris Manning transfer in.”
The strengths on this year’s team far outnumber the concerns.
“We have players with good skills and athleticism,” Curle said. “We will continue to play an up-tempo style. We will have good 3-point shooting and we have some players who can play above the rim. We will look to force opponents into committing turnovers.
“But we have to defend and rebound, holding opponents to one shot. Good post players hurt us last year. We tend to react a lot and not play defense with our feet. We don’t want to foul because it slows down the game for us. We want to create turnovers, but not be out of position.
“We have the potential to be a good team, but we’re not as good a team now as we were at the end of last year. We have a lot of work to do and it’s trial by error.”
Three players who averaged in double figures a year ago — Shamoy McIntosh (11.8), John Perez (11.6) and Jordan Moody (10.0) — return. Perez, also a strong rebounder despite being 6-3, was lost with a serious injury during the later part of 2012-13 season.
“Any time you lose one of your top performers it hurts,” Curle said. “But that gives an opportunity to someone else and thus entered Reggie Williams, who took full advantage of his opportunity.
“John is back now and he’s ready to start the season. He was a little tentative at first, but I think that was more emotionally than anything else. He will be one of our captains, along with Manning. But Reggie is hurt right now and we don’t know how long he will be out.”
Curle plans on going nine or 10 deep.
“We don’t lose a lot coming off the bench,” he said.
Manning, McIntosh, Moody, Edward Correa, Ezra Hodgson, Mike Mitchell and Xavier Thomas will be among the key players.
Manning will run the show for the Cardinals, while Moody and Thomas will be exciting to watch near the basket.
“Moody is good around the rim and he just needs to play to his strengths,” Curle said. “Thomas did not play on the team last year, but was a student here. He plays above the rim and will be one of our top players.
“Ed Correa can really shoot it and his level of conditioning is a lot better this year and that’s going to make a big difference in him. Shamoy McIntosh is athletic, like Moody, and Ezra Hodgson has learned how to get open and create space for himself.
“We should have some great 3-point shooting with Hodgson, Correa, McIntosh and Moody. And Mitchell and Manning have both improved their shooting. Opponents will have to pick their poison against us.”
Plattsburgh opens its season by playing a 5 p.m. nonconference game against Bridgewater State on Saturday at the Stockton Tip-Off Tournament in Galloway, New Jersey.
“We have to approach every game with a level of hunger,” Curle said.Plattsburgh State men's basketball 2013-14 roster 3- Mike Mitchell, 5-7, 160, junior guard, Milford, N.H./Milford 4- Edward Correa, 6-1, 190, sophomore guard, Bronx/Mount St. Mary 5- Chris Manning, 6-0, 185, senior guard, Baldwin/Baldwin 10- James Outlaw, 6-0, 155, sophomore guard, New York/Thurgood Marshall Academy 11- Shamoy McIntosh, 6-2, 180, junior guard, Floral Park/Floral Park 14- John Perez, 6-3, 190, senior guard, Haverstraw/North Rockland 15- Xavier Thomas, 6-2, 180, sophomore guard/forward, Brooklyn/Thomas Jefferson 21- Reggie Williams, 6-6, 240, senior forward, Yonkers/Gorton 22- Shavar Fields, 6-6, 205, senior forward, Albany/Bishop Maginn 23- Jordan Moody, 6-2, 180, junior guard, Yorktown Heights/Yorktown 24- Anthony Baker, 6-5, 210, senior forward, Bronx/Gorton 33- Alan Siergiej, 6-6, 240, junior forward, Staten Island/St. Joseph by-the-Sea 34- Vaughn Dweck, 6-4, 180, freshman forward/guard, Cortlandt Manor/Walter Panas 41- Owen Mitchell, 6-4, 210, freshman forward, Potsdam/Potsdam 44- Ezra Hodgson, 6-6, 225, junior forward, Rindge, N.H./Conant Head coach: Tom Curle Associate head coach: Cameron Conover -- 2013-14 schedule Saturday, Nov. 16- at Stockton Tip-Off Tournament (Galloway, N.J.), vs. Bridgewater State, 5 p.m. Sunday Nov. 17- at Stockton Tip-Off Tournament (Galloway, N.J.), vs. Richard Stockton, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19- St. Lawrence University, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3- Keene State, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6- at Oswego State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7- at Cortland State, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29- at Land of Magic Classic (Daytona Beach, Fla.), vs. Millikin University, 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30- at Land of Magic Classic (Daytona Beach, Fla.), vs. University of Wisconsin-Stout, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7- at Middlebury College, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10- Geneseo State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11- The College at Brockport, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17- at New Paltz State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18- at Oneonta State, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21- Potsdam State, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24- at Buffalo State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25- at Fredonia State, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31- Oneonta State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1- New Paltz State, 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7- at The College at Brockport, 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8- at Geneseo State, 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14- Cortland State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15- Oswego State, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18- at Potsdam State, 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21- Fredonia State, 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22- Buffalo State, 4 p.m.