By Cam Smith ’21
Sports Assistant Editor
Late Night Madness whipped up a fervor of excitement for the start of the varsity basketball season last Saturday night. Yet, the varsity teams will be far from the only squads gracing the Providence College basketball courts this fall.
The club basketball season started earlier this week on the men’s side as tryouts were held to fill out the roster for the 2019-2020 season. The Providence College Men’s Club Basketball Team is looking to build on a successful year last season that saw the squad go 12-6 in the National Club Basketball Association’s (NCBBA) New England South conference and 13-7 overall.
The Friars finished the season on a strong note, pulling off an incredible ten-game winning streak that saw them come up just short of the at-large bid for a berth in the Regional tournament. “It took a little while to get used to each other and mesh at the start of last year,” said club co-president Joe Gill ’21. “But, by the half-way point of the season we really knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and it showed in our record. We started winning more and more games.”
There is reason to be excited about this year as well, as the team lost only a couple players from last year’s squad that ended the season scorching hot.
Returning veterans include Nick Mahar ’22, a dominant post presence with a deadly right-shoulder hook shot from the block. He will be joined by the dynamic twin-brother duo of Matt and Chris Lautato ’21, who dictate the flow of the game from the point guard position.
Club co-president Cam Shelmire ’21 joins Gill in a leadership role and is a multi-talented wing presence with the ability to slash down low. The co-president’s skill sets complement each other well, as Gill himself is a mobile big man that can play out of the post or out behind the three-point line.
“We’re excited for this year because we only lost a few guys from last year, our core group is returning,” said Gill. “We should be pretty good. We’re hoping to make a run in regionals and then maybe even nationals.”
Two more players rejoining the team for their much-anticipated season are Spencer Butterfield ’20 and Will Martin ’22. Butterfield is another dynamic slasher who is a tremendous finisher around the rim. Martin, an all-around offensive threat, is a skilled isolation player that can easily slip by a defender off the dribble.
The team will begin practices next week and will then host a preseason tournament at PC on Sunday, October 20 where Brown University, Bryant University, and Merrimack College will get a tough early season test in the Friars.
“We ended the year really strong,” reflected Gill. “We played really well, and when everyone’s on their game we are really, really good. We’re excited for this season.”
The quest to Regionals begins in November for PC. On the weekend of Nov. 16 they travel to Worcester to take on the College of the Holy Cross in their first regular season matchup.