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The MIT men’s basketball team, which rose as high as No. 8 in the national rankings last season, will be looking to continue to build on last year’s success and have another championship caliber season. After winning the NEWMAC regular-season and Tournament championships, earning consecutive bids to the NCAA Division III Tournament, and securing its third All-American in six years, MIT is rapidly establishing a reputation. The Engineers, who debuted at No. 15 in the D3Hoops Pre-Season Top 25, return four starters from last season’s 22-5 team, who accounted for 89 percent of their scoring and 81 percent of their rebounding.

Front court

MIT’s top returner is middle-man Noel Hollingsworth ’12, who was selected as a preseason First Team All-American and will enter the new campaign as the league’s reigning Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring with 20.4 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. Hollingsworth is joined up front by William Tashman ’13, who proved to be one of the most dominant big men in the NEWMAC last year as a freshman, finishing the season as the league-leader in field-goal percentage (57 percent) and pulling down 7.2 rebounds a game.

Joining Hollingsworth and Tashman up front are newcomers Timothy P. Donegan ’14 and William F. Dickson ’14.

Back court

Leading the Engineer backcourt again is last season’s conference and region Rookie of the Year, co-captain Mitchell H. Kates ’13, who has already emerged as one of the top point guards in the country, Last year, Kates averaged 13.5 points per game while leading the league in assists (112) and steals (57).

The Engineers benefit from the return of James D. Karraker ‘12, who was second to James M. Bartolotta ’09 as the NEWMAC’s best three-point shooter during his rookie campaign but was lost to injury last year. Karraker and James R. Burke ’13, who led the league with 2.3 three-point field goals per game last year, will lead MIT’s attack from beyond the arc.

Adding to the deep backcourt is William E. Bender ’12, who earned the reputation as one of the top on-the-ball defenders in the NEWMAC last year.

The squad’s lone senior is co-captain Eric S. Zuk ’11, a utility-player and team leader who averaged just over 13 minutes per game last year. Arni A. Lehto ’12, another defensive specialist, will be another key component to the Engineers’ success this season,

After a two-year hiatus recovering from hip surgeries, former team Rookie of the Year Daniel K. McCue ’12, returns to the team ready to make up for the time off. Also recovering from injury is Nicholas A. Sather ’13,

Arguably the deepest and most prepared incoming class in MIT history includes three wings in Nicholas A. Davis ’14, William G. Watkins ’14, and Jonathan A. Thompson ’14. Rounding out the class is sharp-shooter Joshus N. Dunaway ’14, William G. Baysinger ’14, and point-guard Michael W. Attanasio ’14.

The Engineers open their season Thursday evening at home against Emmanuel College.