Nelson Torres
Men's Basketball Tips-Off Season Friday
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The Immaculata men's basketball team is set to get underway for the 2012-13 campaign with a lot of optimism and promise for a strong season.  For the first time since the program's inception, the Mighty Macs will be led by a new head coach.  Terrence Stewart will take over the reins of the men's program after spending three seasons with La Salle's men's basketball program, and looks to take the Immaculata program to new heights.
“Coming in, I think we have one of the most talented rosters in the league from top to bottom.  I expect us to be able to compete for a conference championship this season given the experience on the roster and the talent of the recruiting class.  I'm very excited about what we have here,” said Coach Stewart about the upcoming season.
After an 11-16 overall mark that included an 8-10 Colonial States Athletic Conference record that saw the team make the postseason tournament for the third consecutive season, the Mighty Macs return nine players from last year's roster.  The team is led by its five seniors T.J. Klinger, Mark Davenport, Todd Stokley, Nelson Torres, and Kendall Peters.  These five seniors combined to average 44.1 points per game last season which accounted for more than half of the team's output every game.  This experienced group also pulled down 18.9 rebounds per game and contributed 185 of the team's 303 assists last season.
Stewart is looking forward to having the veteran leadership on the roster.  He said, “With any program, the seniors have to be the ones that set the tone for the rest of the guys.  They know this is their last season of college basketball and I told them to make sure they cherish every moment of this season.  This group of seniors will mentor these young guys along and show them what hard work is every day.  I will lean on them a lot and it's a great luxury to have as a first-year coach.”
The team is looking to replace their one senior from a year ago, Rob Siter, who led the team in scoring (16.3 ppg), assists and rebounds.  With the help of the returning upperclassmen, Coach Stewart added eight new players to the roster to help the Mighty Macs rise in the CSAC standings for the 2012-13 season and find their way back in the postseason tournament for the fourth straight season.
The backcourt will be the most experienced part of the Mighty Macs this season with its three seniors, but five freshmen will also join the fold and compete for playing time.  Nelson Torres returns for his senior season after a year in which he started 23 of 27 games and was second on the team in scoring with 16.2 ppg, tied for second in assists with 48, and tied for third in rebounds with 4.9.  Torres is also a very versatile defender as he is able to take on any assignment.  Torres is third on Immaculata's all-time scoring list for his career at 1,088 points.  He is currently behind Siter (1,352) and Kyle Finklea (1,544).
T.J. Klinger was another permanent fixture in the starting lineup as he also started 23 games last season while averaging 7.9 ppg and tying Torres with 48 assists for second on the team.  Klinger will continue to be a pivotal piece of the starting lineup and a key contributor defensively as well with 27 steals a season ago.  Mark Davenport was one of the primary men off the bench for Immaculata registering just over 15 minutes per game last season while appearing in 24 of them.  He is strong defensively with the fourth most steals on the team last season (23) while contributing 3.6 points per contest in his reserve role.
Dylan Canova returns for his second season on the team after seeing action in 11 contests a season ago as he looks to establish more of a role in Coach Stewart's rotation.
The five heralded newcomers to the backcourt this season are Tony Calamaro, Michael Callari, Tyler Hankinson, Dan Hogan, and Tyreek Peeples.
Calamaro, a Downingtown West product, played basketball all four years while there and was a member of the First-Team All-Chesmont a year ago.  Callari enters as a three point shooting threat after being in the top-10 in his conference as a senior at St. John Vianney in New Jersey.  Hankinson hails from the Science Leadership Academy where he was a great distributor of the ball which led to 12 double-doubles his senior season.  Hogan, a native of Clark, N.J., was a First-Team All-Valley Division team member this past season as a senior.  Peeples, a point guard from Girard College, brings an element of speed to the Mighty Macs as well as experience with winning having played on a State Championship and two District Championship teams.
Coach Stewart is looking forward to blending the experienced group with the new crop of freshmen in the back court.  Stewart said, “These guys are competitors.  They want to win and they play to win every game, which is exciting as a coach.”
On the front line, the Mighty Macs will look to continue growing on the experience that the forwards accumulated last season.  Seniors Todd Stokley and Kendall Peters will log a lot of minutes at the forward position after doing so for much of the past two seasons.
Stokley was the only Mighty Mac to start all 27 games last season and he was tied for third on the team in points per game at 9.9.  He was tied for third on the team in rebounds per game as well at 4.9 and led the team in three point field goal percentage at 41.3% after knocking down 25 triples a season ago.
Peters started ten of the 26 games he appeared in and averaged 6.5 ppg in just over 22 minutes of action per game.  He was clutch late in games as the team's best free throw shooter at 81.3% and will look to do the same this season.
Juniors Brandon Smith and Jerod Cain, along with sophomore William DeSantis will also bring more game experience to Coach Stewart's lineup.  Smith started all 12 games he played in last season and used his 6-7 frame to tie for third in scoring at 9.9 ppg.  He was also second in rebounds at 5.1 and he will provide some important size down low for the Mighty Macs.
Cain (17 games) and DeSantis (14 games, 7 starts) will bring some extra size to the low blocks for Immaculata after accumulating significant minutes a season ago.
Competing with the five returners at forward are three newcomers in junior Adam Jones and freshmen Nick Brown and Lou Dominique.
Jones played at North Penn and looks to provide another big body at 6-5 off the bench.  Dominique will look to find playing time as a combo guard/forward player for the Mighty Macs.  Brown will also contribute big minutes off the bench as he is a big shot blocking presence in the middle.  
Coach Stewart is confident in the ability of the newcomers and veterans alike to adjust to playing in a different system, “We are trying to teach them a whole new style of play, so it might take some time to learn, but I'm confident that it will be successful once everything clicks.  We are trying to convince these guys to go out there and just play basketball and not think too much.  Play with passion and energy and rely on your instincts out on the floor.”
Immaculata's 2012-13 basketball schedules features 25 regular season games with 10 taking place at Alumnae Hall, the on-campus home of the Mighty Macs.  Immaculata will play seven non-conference games against teams from the Commonwealth Conference, New England Collegiate Conference, New Jersey Athletic Conference, North Eastern Athletic Conference, and the Landmark Conference, in addition to its regular 18-game Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) schedule.
The Mighty Macs tip off the regular season this Friday, Nov. 16 at their lone regular season tournament.  They will travel to the Wyndham Reading Tip-Off Tournament to take on the hosts, Albright, before facing either Moravian or Elms on Nov. 17.
Following the tournament, Immaculata will play three straight road non-conference games against Hood, Rowan, and Penn State Berks to close out the month of November.  Their first home game will be against Rosemont on Dec. 3, which starts a string of two out of three home conference games.  They will take on Cairn on Dec. 8 at Alumnae Hall after travelling to NCAA Tournament runner up Cabrini on Dec. 5.
After their first three conference matchups, the Mighty Macs will play their final two non-conference games of the season when they host Montclair State on Dec. 19 and travel to Moravian on Jan. 7.
The final fifteen games of the season are all CSAC matchups that will determine the team's postseason tournament fate.  They will play a home-and-home series with the other nine teams to make up the 18 game conference slate.  Immaculata will host the NCAA Tournament runner-up Cabrini Cavaliers on Feb. 2 at 1 p.m.
Senior Day will take place on Feb. 11 against Neumann before the Mighty Macs wrap up their regular season schedule with a road game at Cairn on Feb. 13.
Immaculata hopes to return to postseason play by earning one of the six berths to the CSAC Conference Tournament.  The quarterfinals take place on Feb. 16, followed by the semifinals on Feb. 19.  The CSAC Championship game will take place on Feb. 22 with the winner earning the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
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