MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Nets are up. Rims are ready. Buzzers are buzzing. The hardwood is polished and basketball's season-opening weekend is upon us. Penn State Harrisburg's women opened the 2018-19 campaign with a victory on Thursday night and the men's program will look for a similar start when it opens the year by hosting the Penn State Harrisburg Tip-Off Tournament presented by Holiday Inn Harrisburg East beginning tomorrow afternoon. Before the Blue & White tips things off this weekend, be sure to take in all the info you need to know for the upcoming campaign.
Look Who's Back
The Lions are an experience-laden squad led by a group of six seniors, including the team's top two scorers from a year ago in Khalil Williams and Chris Bing. Joining them in the frontcourt is Gbolahan Alliyu and Nelson Jones, while Ibn Haneef-Nelson and Patrick Mulville are among the experienced guards back this winter. Williams averaged 13 points per game last season, while Alliyu was the team's top rebounder (8.6 rpg) and finished tied for the CAC lead in blocks per game (2.6). After transferring into the program last season, Bing posted averages of 12.2 points and 6.3 boards per outing. The 2014 Markward Club Public League Player of the Year joins former Central High School teammates Alliyu and Williams to form one of the most formidable frontcourts in the conference. Nelson shot better than 34 percent from 3-point territory, while both Nelson and Mulville return with another year of valuable experience under their belts.
Brandon Coleman's athleticism will be back on full display after he posted nine points and 1.6 assists per contest as a freshman last season, while fellow guard Keenan Wise could see an expanded role after averaging more than 16 minutes per game a year ago.
The Blue & White welcome one of the program's best recruiting classes in recent memory, led by local standouts and Milton Hershey teammates Donyae Baylor-Carroll and Pedro Rodriguez. The pair led the Spartans to the PIAA 5A semifinals a year ago, with Baylor-Carroll earning PennLive Player of the Year and PIAA First-Team All-State honors to go along with Rodriguez's All-PennLive First-Team recognition.
Zegary Scott III, a Union County Conference All-Division honoree in New Jersey a year ago, will add depth to the backcourt, while L-L League alum Bradley DaBella's shooting prowess will prove an asset this season. Dylan Daniels, an all-state selection from River Hill in Maryland, is a another body in the frontcourt, while Council Rock South's Simon Magidenko's shooting is a welcome addition to the squad's group of guards.
At the Polls
The Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) released its 2018-19 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 8. Penn State Harrisburg received 18 points, earning them a share of sixth place along with St. Mary's (Md.). Christopher Newport led the way with 48 points and six first-place votes, Mary Washington was the runner-up with 39 points and one first-place vote and York (Pa.) rounded out the top three with 38 points and the final first-place vote.
Circle the Date
Dec. 5 – vs. Elizabethtown
The Lions welcome local foe Elizabethtown to the Capital Union Building for a big non-conference showdown on in early December.
Jan. 9 – vs. York (Pa.)
The Blue & White begin a crucial run during CAC play, welcoming the defending conference champs and NCAA Tournament team from a year ago to CUB just after the New Year.
Jan. 12 – vs. Mary Washington
Harrisburg will look to avenge last season's narrow, three-point loss to the Eagles in Middletown last winter when UMW pays another visit to the CUB in mid-January.
The Lions opening the 2018-19 campaign by hosting Gettysburg at the Capital Union Building for the first game of the Penn State Harrisburg Tip-Off Tournament presented by Holiday Inn Harrisburg East on Saturday afternoon.