Introducing UVM’s basketball rookies

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Marqus Blakely is one of the best dunkers in the nation and rejects any opponent who dares to come into the paint. Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos have been go-to players for years. We all know that, so I won’t waste time talking about them here, since they’ll surely hog headlines and highlights this winter.

I figured UVM’s Basketball Media Day on Wednesday was a good time to inquire about the rookies. Here’s what coaches Mike Lonergan and Sharon Dawley had to say about their incoming classes, both highly touted:

MEN’S TEAM

Ben Crenca, 6-foot-9, 250-pound center from Exeter, R.I.

Lonergan’s assessment: “One of our first true centers since Chris Holm. Because we don’t have a lot of depth or size, I think Ben will have the best chance to play right away. He’s the strongest guy on our team right now in the weight room.”

Luke Apfeld, 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Wolfeboro, N.H.

Lonergan’s assessment: “Luke is coming off knee surgery on both knees. He’s just starting to really play again after a year and a half off of rehab. He’s very talented, and on paper, one of the top recruits we’ve ever had here. We’ll see how he come off of injury, but he adds a lot of size and athleticism to our team.”

Simeon Marsalis, 5-foot-11, 160-pound point guard from New Rochelle, N.Y.

Lonergan’s assessment: “Very smart, true point guard. Hopefully he’ll be able to back up Nick (Vier) or Joey (Accaoui). He’s a terrific player.”

Brendan Bald, 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard from Millersville, Md.

Lonergan’s assessment: “Very, very athletic wing player. He’s the second most athletic guy on the team next to Marqus. So I’m sure in Catamount tip-off you’ll see him in the dunk contest. There’s a lot of competition at his position, but I definitely think he’ll compete for playing time right away.”

Matt Glass, 6-foot-7, 190-pound guard from Underhill, Vt., who transferred from UMass

Lonergan’s assessment: “He can’t play this year because of NCAA rules. He’ll really help us in practice and he’s a tremendous leader.”

Lonergan’s overview of incoming class: “We love our freshmen but they are still freshmen. They are very talented on paper but they will have to prove themselves in practice.”

WOMEN’S TEAM

Rachel Wellman, 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Cambridge, Vt.

Dawley’s assessment: “Tremendous shooter and a good defensive player.”

Morgan Albert, 5-foot-10 guard from Brighton, Mich.

Dawley’s assessment: “Big guard, very versatile and rebounds like crazy.”

Lauren Buschmann, 6-foot-1 power forward/center from St. Catherines, Ontario.

Dawley’s assessment: “Very, very solid, strong – she’ll help us right away.”

Kendra Seto, 6-foot guard/forward from Oshawa, Ontario

Dawley’s assessment: “You’ll see her early on. Very, very talented and very athletic. She is going to very good for us right from the beginning.”

Kristine Lalonde, 5-foot-10 guard from Sudbury, Ontario

Dawley’s assessment: “She’s a point guard; unfortunately that position is booked right now. She’s going to back up Courtnay but she is so versatile and athletic that she can also play minutes in other positions.”

Lauren Wheeler, 6-foot guard/forward from Ancaster, Ontario

Dawley’s assessment: “She can shoot it, she can play the point. She can really be on the floor as a 1, 2, 3 or 4.”

Dawley’s overview on incoming class: “All six freshman are very, very talented. I would expect you are going to see four or five freshman quite often and maybe one or two in the starting lineup.”

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