LANCASTER, Pa. – A core group of returners combined with a talented first-year class has expectations high in Lancaster for the start of the Franklin & Marshall 2018-19 men's basketball season. The Diplomats will look to continue the momentum from last year's team that made the program's 25th NCAA Tournament. The Diplomats kickoff the season on Sunday when F&M hosts Albright at 2:00 p.m.
Click here to watch the season preview with head coach Glenn Robinson.
The four-member first-year class will look to make an immediate impact and add to a squad that features two returning starters and a handful of players that played in multiple games a year ago. F&M made it to the Sweet 16 for the 17th time last season and put together a 22-7 mark, which was the 28th time in school history the Diplomats finished with 20 or more wins.
Below is a position by position breakdown of the team.
Junior Mike Rice and sophomore Justin Kupa will rotate a point guard this season after Rice saw time in 28 games last season. First-year Solomon Mathis will come off the bench to add depth to the position.
Junior Ignas Slyka headlines the guard spot, returning for the third season in the starting rotation. Slyka, the 2017 Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year, started in 26 games last year and averaged 9.9 points per game with 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals a contest. Kupa will also see time at guard after playing in 26 games in 2017-18. Sophomore Bo Williams and Les Thomas will see more significant roles this year and first years Justin Peirce and Watida Mukukula will see valuable time as well.
Senior J.C. McGrath returns in the post this year. He was named to the All-CC Second Team after averaging 12.1 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. He scored in double-figures in 18 games with five double-doubles. Sophomore Matt Redhead will start on opening day and fellow classmate Matt Groll will see significant minutes as he played in 22 games with 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a year ago. Sophomores Jerry Ben, Brian Hines, Zach Ravitz and first-year Jaka Pandza should see time on the court this season.
The Road Ahead
The Diplomats open their 2018-19 campaign at home on Sunday, Nov. 11 with a meeting against Albright. The annual William Marshall Tip-Off Tournament is set for the following weekend in Mayser, and opens on Friday, Nov. 16 against Alvernia at 7:30 p.m. Stevens and Hobart also compete in the tournament with the Consolation (5:30 p.m.) and Championship (7:30 p.m.) games set for Saturday evening.
Centennial Conference (CC) action begins on the road with a Tuesday, Nov. 20 contest against Gettysburg. The Sponaugle New Years Tournament is slated to run from Dec. 29-30 and features Delaware Valley, Rowan, and Keene St. with the Consolation game at 1:00 p.m. and the Championship at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The CC Playoffs begin with the First Round on Tuesday, Feb. 19 while the Semifinals and Championship occurring on Feb. 22-23.
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Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of all winter schedules when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
All F&M home contests are streamed in HD video, free of charge at GoDiplomats.com/Live and simulcast on the Centennial Conference Digital Network (CCDN). Fans can also follow the action through the live stats page, found here.
Centennial Conference Digital Network (CCDN)
The Centennial Conference announced a partnership with Stretch Internet to become the conference's digital network provider and establish a central location for all CC athletic events. Broadcasts that are present in the Stretch portal are exclusively produced by each of the 11-member institutions of the conference.
In addition to its Roku channel, the Conference will have three new over-the-top (OTT) applications to make broadcasts available – Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Home broadcasts that are produced by all 11 members will be available on CentennialConference.TV and the OTT apps.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.