WILLIAMSPORT — Now in his second year as head coach of the Lycoming College men’s basketball team, Mike McGarvey has begun the process of rebuilding Lycoming into a team that is resilient, loves the game, plays with respect and always plays hard.
During an 11-14 first season, the Warriors hit snags and stumbled during a long January before recovering with wins over two teams bound for the conference tournament in the season’s final week.
This season, the Warriors will have a completely new look. Three of the team’s top five scorers are gone, along with five others who played key roles throughout the season. While the backcourt returns four players, the team’s frontcourt will be stocked nearly wholly by freshmen, especially early in the season.
When the team hits the court for the first time on Friday night, Nov. 8, to open the Dutch Burch Tip-Off against Penn State-Schuylkill, it will be the beginning of the next chapter in the storied history of the men’s basketball program.
There were moments in 2018-19 that the Lycoming backcourt looked like one of the best in the Mid-Atlantic Region, a group many teams will be envious of, led by junior point guard Darius Dangerfield and junior combo guard D’Yante Doughty.
Dangerfield averaged 11.8 points, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a sophomore, and he scored in double figures 16 times, making him a threat to score from the point guard position, as he has the quickness that allows him to get into the line and also an eye for shooting from downtown, hitting 41 3-pointers as a sophomore.
Doughty averaged 11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.2 assists per game in his second season. He has the ability to handle the ball up the floor along with Dangerfield, and he also has the ability to be a difference-maker, scoring 32 points against Susquehanna and posting four 20-point efforts. A slash-and-cut specialist, he hit 30 3-pointers, but also made 57 shots from inside-the-arc.
In the swing slot, McGarvey said sophomore Matt Ilodigwe and senior Ryan Hollis have continued to elevate their play. Ilodigwe, a 6-1, 170-pounder, averaged 7.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, but notably came on strong at the end of the year, hitting a school-record 11 3-pointers against Hood and canning a trey in all but one game after January began.
Hollis, like Ilodigwe, turned into a deep threat, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc (17-of-39) and averaging 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds, becoming a key part of the team in the final 14 games of the year.
Several freshmen will also get the chance to make an impact, as Donovan James, a native of Mount Carmel and an MCA alum, Ryan Hagan and Southern Columbia graduate Damian Ares will compete for time at point guard. Another former Tiger, Tobias Walden Jr., and Luke Finkbeinerwill see time in the two shooting guard positions.
Freshman A.J. MacKrey will also be in the mix for a guard position after he returns from an injury.
While the Warrior backcourt is stocked with experience, the frontcourt returns just one player and a total of 35 minutes of experience from the 2018-19 team.
That player is senior captain Vimire Jenkins, a native of Pennsauken, NJ, and a walk-on that averaged 0.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in his limited time on the court.
However, with five freshmen entering the mix in the No. 4 and No. 5 slots, the Warriors will have plenty of options as the season gets underway. Mo Terry and 6-7 Dyson Harward, a graduate of Danville Area High School, will see time in the lineup immediately, with Jenkins and freshman DeAndre Manuel also likely to see time immediately. Jon-Marc Flores-Diaz, a native of San Antonio, TX, Danilo Petrovic, a Serbian who matriculated in Philadelphia, and Pablo Pereira, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, all will provide depth and see opportunities during the year.