by Andrew Turner
LYNDON CENTER - With 10 returning players, this year, the Lyndon State College men's basketball team expects to be a contender in the Mayflower Conference.
Coach Tim Kelly described his squad as one about which he was really positive.
quot;We've got quite a veteran group of players coming back,quot; Kelly said. quot;These are really good guys and I look forward to practice everyday because there's not a lot of attitude.quot;
A key difference this year over last is physical strength, Kelly said.
quot;A lot of the guys are a lot stronger this year. Physical strength, maturity and a belief in themselves as a team are the big differences,quot; he said, adding, quot;At the end of last season, we had a great run and went into the playoffs and almost knocked off Green Mountain (College). That kind of laid the seeds of confidence. It's not a cockiness, but they feel pretty confident about playing against anyone.quot;
Kelly describes this year's team as one that plays fast basketball, both on offense and defense.
quot;I would say we're an offensive team because of my philosophy. Even our defense is designed to get the tempo up,quot; he said.
Leading the Hornets this year will be his tri-captains, senior guard Jamie Kingsbury, a quot;hard-nosedquot; player from Bradford with over 1,300 career points scored, quot;strong leader and scorerquot; Kerry Lyons, a senior forward from Milton, and sophomore forward Jim Nelson, from Ryegate, who is the team's best percentage three-point shooter and strong inside.
Kelly likes his team's depth, with eight or nine consistant double-figure players. The value of that was illustrated this past weekend against Thomas College, where the bench was able to support its starters, some of whom were in a little foul trouble.
quot;I think we should be one of the top three teams in the conference,quot; predicted Kelly. quot;I think we have the players and maturity to be there, if we play to our potential.quot;