BABSON PARK, Mass.—In the midst of one of the most successful runs in the 85-year history of the program, the Babson College men's basketball team is looking to return to national prominence in 2019-20.
LOOKING BACK, GOING FORWARD
Under the direction of head coach Stephen Brennan, who begins his 25th season at the helm, the Beavers finished 15-11 overall and 8-6 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) last winter. Brennan returns 12 players from last year's squad, which includes a pair of all-conference selections and four of the team's top six scorers.
RAISING THE BAR
Senior Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) and junior Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) earned All-NEWMAC second-team honors last winter after putting together the top seasons of their respective careers. Oftring averaged career highs in points (13.5), rebounds (6.4) and assists (2.3) while shooting 54.7 percent overall and 62.9 on two-point attempts. Jaworski put up career-best averages of 14.4 points and 4.0 boards on 48.4 percent shooting.
DEEP BACKCOURT GETS DEEPER
A two-year starter, senior Shyheim Ulrickson (Topsham, Maine) leads a strong group of guards that looks to be even better this season with the addition of Utah State transfer Crew Ainge (Wellesley, Mass.). Ulrickson has averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 assists over the last two seasons, while junior Matt Pattyson (Doylestown, Pa.) and sophomore James Welch (Needham, Mass.) both played well last winter. Pattyson, who made three starts, averaged 4.0 points and shot 36.7 percent from beyond the arc, and Welch chipped in with 4.2 points.
FORWARDS IN FOCUS
In addition to Oftring, the Beavers return three sophomore forwards that are looking to build upon the experience they gained as rookies last winter. Sophomore Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) was slowed by a mid-season injury but recorded one double-double and averaged 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 21 contests off the bench. Classmate Beau Smith (Germantown, N.Y.) scored in double figures twice and contributed 3.2 points per outing, while fellow sophomore Max Gussen (Medford, N.J.) overcame an early-season injury to put up 3.0 points in seven NEWMAC contests.
SNIPERS ON THE WING
The duo of senior Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) and junior Graham Dolan (Williamsville, N.Y.) gives Babson two of the top shooters in the league. Coolahan averaged 9.9 points and 22 games and was at his best in conference play putting up 12.3 points on 52.5 percent shooting overall and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Despite missing considerable time due to injury, Dolan is a career 44.7 percent shooter from three-point range.
A CHAMPION RETURNS
Matthew Droney '17, who was a part of the Beavers' run to the Final Four in 2015 and the program's first national title in 2017, returned to Babson as an assistant coach over the summer after one-year stints as an assistant at Vassar (2017-18) and MIT (2018-19).
THE VOTES ARE IN
The Green and White was picked to finish third behind WPI and defending NEWMAC Tournament champions Emerson when the league released its preseason coaches' poll last week. Babson won three straight regular season NEWMAC titles from 2015-17, tied for second place in 2018 and finished in a three-way tie for third last winter.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDARS
The Beavers will again face some of the top teams in the region in the non-conference portion of its schedule, highlighted by a visit from Amherst, which reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season, on December 4. Babson also faces trips to Bates and Bowdoin, will participate in the 11th annual Big 4 Challenge at Salem State on December 7-8, and will take on Eastern Connecticut State at Trinity's Holiday Invitational on December 30.