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Men...s Hoops to Spread Burden Of Replacing D...Auria...s Offense

By Ryan Lanphere

After sweeping all of the individual NEWMAC awards and finishing with a program best 21 wins last season, the 2006-2007 men’s varsity basketball team has its sights set high for this season.

The first task for the Engineers will be to find a replacement for the 2005-2006 NEWMAC Player of the Year Mike W. D’Auria ’06 who graduated this past spring. D’Auria played a role in every part of the game for the Engineers last season, averaging 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.4 steals per game.

In recognition of his efforts, D’Auria received numerous accolades including the Division III All-American Team (the first in the program’s history), the Northeast Region Player of the Year (also a program first), and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team. His 1,528 career points put him third all-time, his 586 points last season were three shy of the all time single season mark, and his 71 steals and 257 field goals were both MIT single season records.

Looking the fill the void left by D’Auria, 2005-2006 NEWMAC Rookie of the Year James M. Bartolotta ’09 should greatly expand the role he played last year. Bartolotta averaged 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game to go along with his team best 82.1% clip from the free throw line. Bartolotta should see action at both guard spots and also as a forward.

The Engineers also lost a lot of size in the front court with the graduation of forwards Phillip E. Murray ’06 and Gary R. Atkins ’06 along with a one year departure to Cambridge, England by Hamidou Soumare ’08.

As a result, the Engineers will feature, as Coach Larry Anderson puts it, “an equal opportunity offense.” These opportunities will be seized by many Engineers, who include: point guard Bradley H. Gampel ’09, wingmen Alexander G. Krull ’07 and William D. Mroz ’08, and forward Willard J. Johnson ’09.

The Engineers freshman class is raw but talented. Coach Anderson says guard Patrick S. Sissman ’10 and forward Erich W. Bracht ’10 have made “significant strides” in practice so far and should be solid contributors right away for MIT.

The team goals for the 2006-2007 season are as lofty as last season’s finish. Besides improving each day in practice, they hope to make a run at a NEWMAC Championship after falling in the tournament final last year. If things go as planned, MIT also could also figure into the national tournament picture as well.

Anderson is in his 12th year as the head coach. After leading the Engineers to a 18-7 regular season finish last year he was awarded the NEWMAC Coach of the Year honor.

The Engineers have a tough schedule lined up for the 2006-2007 seasons, “the toughest schedule that we have ever had in my 12 years at MIT,” according to Anderson. The schedule includes non-conference match-ups against preseason No. 12 Tufts University on December 2 and No. 3 Amherst on Dec. 7. Both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. tip-offs at MIT’s Rockwell Cage.