Basketball season is right around the corner at Millersville, and the Marauders will be tasked with defending their title after capturing the PSAC East championship last season.
Coming into the 2022-2023, the Marauders men’s basketball team finds themselves ranked fourth after a recent preseason poll was conducted. They are behind teams such as East Stroudsburg, Shippensburg and West Chester in the current rankings. Overall, the team itself will have a new look this year, with power-forward Justin Nwuso being the only returning starter.
Nwsuo averaged 9.5 points per game on an efficient 46.4% from the field over the course of the 2021-2022 season. Nwuso is likely to step into a larger role this season with the absences of players like James Sullivan, Jaden Faulkner, and Khari Williams.
“Even though we lost a lot of guys from last year’s team which was a special group, not only on the court but off the court. We have to learn from that, the younger players have to take example of leading from our older guys who have been around some of the best leaders and players we’ve had in the program” says head coach Casey Stitzel, who is entering his seventh year as the Marauders head coach.
Although Millersville will be without many of their key starters that were instrumental in bringing home the PSAC east championship, the program has done a great job of finding recruiting talent as well picking up key pieces through the transfer portal. Most notably, forward Matt Dade transferring from West Chester, who was All-PSAC East selection in 2022.
Last year with the Golden Rams, he averaged just shy of 13 points a game and grabbed 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 47.6% from the field. Dade was able to score double-digit points in 21 of 27 games last season, as he looks to provide an offensive spark the Marauders will desperately need this year.
Mekhi Henricks, last season’s sixth-man and top three point shooter, will be moving into the starting lineup with the absences of the guards from 2021-2022 team. Hendricks was a valuable piece of the Marauders rotation, knocking down thirty three pointers on the year while shooting a ridiculous 49.2 percent from behind the ark. With Hendrick stepping to a starting rotation, where he is guaranteed more minutes, he could play a large part in the overall success of this year’s campaign.
“Hendricks has been great as a leader and a player, Ryan Davis is really taking the step we’ve been looking for, Justin Nwuso is just a great kid, and obviously we have a big time transfer in Matt Dade from West Chester, an all conference kid,” says Coach Stitzel during the team’s media day.
Although the team lost many key pieces during the past offseason, the development of their younger players like Hendricks and Nwuso has put them in the position to compete for consecutive PSAC East titles, despite only having one returning starter.
“It’s gonna take time, we are replacing some really, really good players and if there is one thing a coach can’t give kids is experience. They have to learn how to do that themselves, they have to learn how to fail and how to adjust to that,” says Stitzel.
Friday, November 11 @ Virginia State
Saturday, November 12 @ Virginia Union
Wednesday, November 16 vs. Penn State Schuylkill
Satusday, November 19 @ Chestnut Hill