Varsity Basketball

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2016-2017 Preview

Head coach Harlan Dodson returns for his second season at the helm of Salisbury basketball operations. With all five of his starters from 2015-16 gone to the college ranks, Dodson begins the new season with a virtual blank slate. Sixth-former Will Dubow, a forward, is one of only two players on this year’s roster who broke into the line-up last year, making ten starts. Returning guard Mason Evarts also started several games last year.

Besides Dubow and Evarts, Dodson has two other players who regularly rotated into games last year: Guard Tyler West and guard/forward Theo Biddle. Both should continue to see important minutes this season as should Julien Sy, who will likely find a spot in the rotation after limited time last year. Forward Gil Gasana used the summer to develop his game and may work his way onto the court as well.

A group of newcomers will contribute significantly and will determine whether or not the Knights improve on last season’s 9-15 record. Highly touted guard Bryce Daley comes to the Hilltop from Phillips Exeter Academy, and much of the team’s hopes will rest on his shoulders. Another recruit likely to start is forward/center Naji Ozer, formerly of Novi H.S. in Novi, Michigan. Other newcomers Dodson has added to his roster include forward/center Zach Banks (last year: Cushing Academy); guard Anthony Sims (Nova H.S. in Davey, Florida); center Ryan Philibotte (Pinkerton H.S. in Derry, New Hampshire); and center Will Philo.

Three players move up to the varsity after making solid contributions to the junior varsity last year: guard/forward Dylan Sanchez; forward/center Max Warden; and guard Skyler Crawford. Of the three, Sanchez is the most likely to see floor time.

Dodson took a few minutes from his work in the history classroom to share thoughts about the upcoming season. “I’m very excited about the combination of returning talent and incoming talent that we have on the team this year,” said Dodson. “It’s a great group of kids, and I enjoy being around them, both on and off the court.”

Hoops aficionados should be intrigued by Dodson’s further assessment of his charges. “This team features tons of shooting,” Dodson observed, “and an array of hardworking and tough players. I’m excited to go on this journey with them.”

In addition to their Class A schedule, Salisbury will also face three AA opponents in Cushing, Master’s (CT), and St. Andrew’s. The Knights’ opening weekend will feature two games. Avon Old Farms will visit the Hilltop for a Saturday night game, with tip-off at 7:00. Then on Sunday, the Knights will travel to St. Andrew’s for a 5:45 start.

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-Bates Math and 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. Today, the Knights are led by Head Coach Harlan Dodson.

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