Basketball season underway: team welcomes four freshmen

Photos courtesy of goleopards.com

Lafayette men’s basketball 2013-2014 is officially underway as of last Saturday’s first practice of the preseason.

This is a multi-part series previewing Lafayette before it begins its season against Villanova at The Pavilion on November 8.

Four recruits signed letters of intent to join Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon and the Lafayette men’s basketball team as they attempt to return to the Patriot League Championship game, where they lost to Bucknell 64-56 in Lewisburg. It was the third straight season that was ended by the Bison.

Nick Linder:

Linder is a 5’10”, 161-pound point guard from Germantown Academy in Doylestown, Pa. There, he played under Coach Jim Fenerty, a friend of O’Hanlon.

“We’ve had a long list of people out of [Germantown Academy] that we’ve recruited and have had here,” O’Hanlon said. “He is very quick and really pushes the ball in transition.”

As with all incoming freshman, Linder will undergo adjustments.

“You don’t know how people are adjusting to the college life, academic life, social life,” O’Hanlon said. “He has a lot of potential, but he needs to stay healthy.”

Linder helped lead his team to the Inter-AC Championship his senior year and averaged 12 points per game and 8 assists per game.

Michael Hoffman:

Hoffman is a 6’7”, 182-pound forward hailing from Nolan Catholic in Burleson, Texas. The Lone Star state native brings a shot blocking repertoire, setting the Nolan Catholic record with 214 in his career.

He also competed in the high jump in track and field each spring.

“Don’t tell the track coach because he is playing basketball,” O’Hanlon said, smiling. “He jumped 6’8”.”

O’Hanlon is hoping for his new forward to develop a deeper shooting range from his 15-17 feet mark, and also commented on his weight.

“He needs strength.”

As a senior, Hoffman averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal per game.

Monty Boykins:

Boykins was a highly sought-after recruit until he tore his ACL six games into his senior season. In those six games, the 6’4”, 192 pound guard averaged 17.2 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game.

From Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio, Boykins has been given the go-ahead for non-contact and is on a timeline for recovery. He has been attempting to get back in basketball shape through bicycling.

“Some people come back quickly like Adrian Peterson,” O’Hanlon said. “Some people don’t come back as quick like Derrick Rose. We will see what happens.”

When he does return fully to practice, O’Hanlon will be excited.

“[He is] someone that can get into gaps and shoot the basketball,” O’Hanlon said. “He can play multiple positions. I think the class has a very good basketball IQ and Monty kind of epitomizes that.”

A link to his 2012 Spring AAU Highlights can be found online on Youtube.

Interestingly enough, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Boykins’ father as a free agent in May of 1984.

Jake Newman:

Newman is the third guard in the 2013 class, coming in at 6’6”, 195 pounds. He played at the Hun School of Princeton for his prep year after playing four seasons at White Rock Christian in Surrey, British Columbia.

Similar to Hoffman, Newman competed in track and field as well as cross country. He was a late addition.

“He is very good defensively and has a good basketball feel,” O’Hanlon said. The guard features a jump shot that ranges from 16-17 feet.

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