Men’s basketball continues youth movement with seven ’16s
By Casey Dennis, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Thursday, May 24, 2012
Coming off its third consecutive last-place finish in the Ivy League during the 2011-2012 season, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team received a much-needed boost to the program when head coach Paul Cormier announced the incoming fall recruiting class. The seven new members of the Big Green will have the tall task of replacing three productive graduating seniors and turning around a program that has compiled a 3-39 league record over the past three seasons.
Dartmouth will bring in forward Connor Boehm ’16, forward Tommy Carpenter ’16, shooting guard Kevin Crescenzi ’16, point guard Malik Gill ’16, power forward Brandon McDonnell ’16, guard Alex Mitola ’16 and forward Matt Rennie ’16.
“The freshmen are another step in building the program,” center Matt LaBove ’13 said. “We are bringing in more quality players and a lot of them will play significant minutes next year.”
Similar to last season, in which Jvonte Brooks ’15, Gabas Maldunas ’15 and John Golden ’15 all played significant starting roles for the Big Green, the team expects major contributions from its underclassmen. Brooks, the team’s Player of the Year, led the team in scoring, averaging 9.4 points per game. Maldunas was close behind at 9.1 points per game while leading the team in rebounding with 7.2 boards per contest. Golden produced 7.3 points per game and shot a team-high 38.3 percent from three-point range.
In the backcourt, the Big Green added Gill, Crescenzi and Mitola. Gill, a 5’9”, 185-pound point guard from New Rochelle, N.Y., is stronger than most players his size. Gill led his Mount Saint Michael Academy high school team to a 21-8 record and helped send the squad to the Catholic High School Athletic Association semifinals.
Crescenzi hails from New Hampshire’s Tilton School, one of the most prestigious preparatory schools in the country. His team compiled a 27-6 record last year and sent three players to the University of Kentucky, the University of Missouri and the Iowa State University. Because of the team’s impressive talent, Crescenzi was primarily a role player, but the Big Green seeks to utilize him immediately. The lean 6’3”, 190-pound guard is a big threat from the three-point line and specializes in defending the best perimeter players on opposing teams.
Mitola comes to Dartmouth after completing one of the most successful high school basketball careers in New Jersey history. The 5’11”, 165-pound combo-guard started all four years at Gill St. Bernard’s School, a team ranked in USA Today’s Top 25 for most of last year and third overall in New Jersey. In his senior season, Mitola led the state in three-pointers with 119, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 18.2 points and 4.5 assists per game. The Florham Park, N.J. native finished his career with 1,978 points.
“I’m looking forward to getting to play for and learn from coach Cormier and the rest of the staff,” Mitola said. “I am excited to play and work with the team.”
Mitola, who visited campus three times before deciding to commit, said he chose Dartmouth because of the many opportunities he saw in the school.
“Dartmouth provides me the opportunity to have an unbelievable education and great athletic career,” he said. “I feel that after my four years at Dartmouth, I will be in the best position I could be in to pursue a career in business, basketball or anything else that I may be interested in.”
Dartmouth also added four forwards to the program in Boehm, McDonnell, Carpenter and Rennie. Boehm comes in with a skill set similar to that of Maldunas — a forward with soft hands, a strong physical presence and the ability to shoot from far out. The 6’7”, 235-pound Pioneer Press North Shore Player of the Year led his New Trier High School team to a 23-6 record after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for the year.
McDonnell brings a strong offensive package to Dartmouth. The 6’8”, 210-pound point forward from Jackson, N.J. shined in his senior season at Jackson Memorial High School, averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. A proven leader, McDonnell took his team to the Central Jersey Group 4 finals after a successful 25-4 season.
Carpenter is a familiar face to current Big Green players Brooks and Golden, as the three played together at Northfield Mount Hermon School in 2010-11. Unfortunately, that was the last full season Carpenter played, as the 6’7”, 200-pound Greensboro, N.C. native separated his shoulder and missed his entire senior season. Carpenter is beginning to play with contact again and is expected to be back at 100 percent in the fall.
Rennie offers another physical presence for the Big Green. Weighing in at 220 pounds, the 6’8” forward from North Brunswick, N.J. helped lead his high school team at Rutgers Preparatory School to an 18-5 record and a NJSIAA Prep B Championship. Rennie finished his senior season with 11.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. After having two separate surgeries on his right knee in the past eight months, Rennie said he is excited for the opportunity to play at the college level at Dartmouth.
“I’m excited about being a part of a college athletic program and being pushed by the great players around me, and also learning at one of the best schools in the country,” Rennie said.
Rennie’s first visit to campus was in April, and he said he loved the school from the start.
“The campus is beautiful, and I really got the sense that Dartmouth was a tightly knit community during my visit,” he said. “Also, the team and coaches couldn’t have been more welcoming.”