Varsity Basketball

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Harlan Dodson Begins New Era for Varsity Basketball

Former Williams College standout and New Hampton School basketball coach Harlan Dodson knew when he accepted the teaching position in Salisbury’s History Department and, with it, the post of varsity basketball coach that he would have a tough act to follow: the Jeff Ruskin Era had brought the Knights the first New England Prep Basketball Championship in the School’s 115-year history as well as sending the first alum to the NBA (Chris McCullough of the Brooklyn Nets) and numerous others to the European professional leagues as well as elite Division III colleges and the occasional Division I. 

Dodson is no stranger to the Big Time, coming from a New Hampton program that itself boasts two current NBA players (Noah Vonleh of the Portland Trailblazers and Olivier Harlan of the Utah Jazz) as well as current members of such preeminent college basketball programs as Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. At Salisbury, Dodson will start with a relatively clean slate, as he inherits only one player from last year’s starting five: guard Kendrick Jolin. Other returners from the 2014-15 team that went 9-15 are Nate Carter, Anthony Drouin, Will Dubow, Jake Hescock, and Tyler West. All are expected to contribute important minutes this season.

Much will depend, however, on the newcomers. Among those with varsity-level experience at other schools are Theo Biddle, a guard out of Trevor School in New York City; Spencer Cotrelle, a forward out of Oakville Trafalgar High School (Oakville, Ontario); Mason Evarts (guard, St. Stephen’s H.S., Austin, TX); LaTerrance Reed, (guard, Canisius H.S., Buffalo, NY); and Julian Sy (guard, Forman School, Litchfield, CT). 

Dodson likes what he sees. “We have a team with a solid returning core and a wealth of new talent,” the upbeat Tennessee native states. “It’s a fun team that has numerous hard-workers in addition to multiple playmakers,” he continues. “We’ll be playing a fun style in a competitive league. I’m excited to see what this year brings.”

He and Assistant Coach Bert Nascimento will not have long to wait, as the varsity season launches Saturday night, December 5, at Avon Old Farms. Tip-off is 7:00. The team will then travel the following day, Sunday, to St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, Rhode Island, for the Hoops Mountain Showcase. No rest for the weary: Monday sees the squad back on the road for the short trip to Lakeville and a 4:30 square-off with cross-town rival Hotchkiss. The road warriors will finally present the 2015-16 edition to Hilltop fans with a home opener against Berkshire on Wednesday afternoon, December 9, at 3:00.

The varsity roster and statistics can be found on MaxPreps.

Our Tradition

Over the years, Salisbury School has produced some of the finest basketball teams in New England, qualifying for year-end tournament play 20 times in the last 23 years, including five trips to the championship game.  The 2010-2011 season saw Salisbury move up to Class A basketball and the Knights reached the championship game of the NEPSAC boys tournament.  In March of 2012, Salisbury captured the New England Class A final with a 72-60 win over Choate Rosemary Hall for the first basketball championship in the School's history.

Our Schedule

Now a memebr of NEPSAC Class A, Salisbury plays a challenging schedule that includes traditional prep school opponents and games against the Williams College JV and the United States Military Academy Prep School.  The team has also traveled to many in-season tournaments, including the Doc Hurley Classic (Hartford, CT), the National Prep School Invitational (University of Rhode Island), the Thomas Blackburn Tournament (Worcester, MA), the Hall of Fame Classic (Springfield, MA), and the Sun Youth Holiday Classic (Montreal, CAN).  This year, the Knights will play in the Hoop Mountain Prep School Showcase and return to Loomis-Chaffee School (Windsor, CT), where they have won fourconsecutive Bob Southall Holiday Tournaments. 

Our Players

Numerous Salisbury players have continued their careers in the collegiate ranks.  Recently, twelve Knights have gone on to play Division I basketball, including Jason Pancoe '09 (Army), Zaid Hearst '11 (Quinnipiac) and Ryan Frazier '12 (Bucknell).  Lachlan Magee '10 was the leading scorer at Endicott College last year as a sophomore and Brandon Hedley '12 is starting at guard for Susquehanna University.

Salisbury hoopsters have also played at Oklahoma, Tulane, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Utah, Bucknell, and  George Washington.  Other Crimson Knights have represented schools such as Middlebury, Trinity, Bates, Assumption, St. Lawrence, Rhodes, Wesleyan, Merrimack, Susquehanna, and Hobart.  Demetrius Porter '08 (Connecticut College) was named New England Small College Athletic Conference "Rookie of the Year" for the 2008-2009 season.  In addition, three former Knights -- Rock Battistoni, Jameel Heywood and Terence Skyrm -- have played professionally overseas.
Three members of the 2012-2013 Salisbury team were recognized by the New England Boys Basketball Coaches Association for their outstanding play.  Samuel Dingba'14 was selected to the All-NEPSAC Class A first team, while KJ Lee'14 and Mackenzie Morrison'14 received honorable mention.

History of the Program

Salisbury students began playing intramural basketball as early as 1907 on the ground floor of North Dormitory. The boys then moved their contests into anew 40-foot by 70-foot gymnasium on the site of the current Wachtmeister Mathand Science Building. Basketball remained an intramural activity until 1922 when a match was play against Pawling, yielding a 22-9 victory. But interest soon lapsed and the sport reverted to intramural status until 1934 with two scheduled games versus Lenox School. A reduction in the number of students during the 1930s, and heightened interest in intramural hockey and skiing, however, made filling out team rosters difficult, and soon, basketball again disappeared from the interscholastic schedule, only to be revived and placed on a permanent basis in 1944. Wartime restrictions on travel limited the number of games, but in the winter of 1945-1946, a full schedule was played. Since that day, basketball has played an important role on the winter sports scene. In 1957-1958 the team moved into new quarters in the recently completed Myers Gymnasium. Between 1990 and 2003 coaches Ken Stone and Chris Hinchey guided the team to 13 consecutive appearances in the New England tournament, finishing second in 2000, with an overall season record of 23-5. During that same period the team compiled a combined 225-95 record.  The basketball squad played its last game in Myers Gymnasium in 2009 after more than 50 seasons in that facility, and now plays in the Flood Athletic Center. In 2012, the Crimson Knights won the New England Championship under the leadership of Head Coach Jeff Ruskin. 

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