BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a 20-win season that culminated with the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2017, the Babson College men's basketball team is excited about the opportunity to continue its success this winter.
Head coach Stephen Brennan, who begins his 26th year on the sidelines, returns 10 players from a team that went 20-7 overall a season ago. Five players that averaged better than 16 minutes per game are back, which includes a trio of upperclassmen that averaged double-digits in scoring last winter.
Senior Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) averaged career highs of 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists while becoming the 28th player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point mark last season. A first-team All-NEWMAC and NABC All-Northeast District second-team selection, Jaworski shot 41.2 percent from three-point range and scored 20 or more points 10 times.
PUSHING THE PACE
Sophomore Andrew Kirkpatrick (Winnetka, Ill.) and junior James Welch (Needham, Mass.) are the two most experienced guards on the roster and will be the key for a team that averaged over 74 possessions and 1.13 points per possession last winter. Kirkpatrick started 14 games as a rookie and contributed 6.6 points and 2.0 assists, while Welch has averaged 4.0 points over his first two seasons, which includes scoring in double figures six times.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Junior forward Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) is coming off a breakout campaign that saw him average 10.2 points on 58 percent shooting to go along with 5.1 boards. Thrust into the starting lineup following Frank Oftring's '20 season-ending injury in January. He recorded three double-doubles and scored in double figures in nine of the Beavers' final 12 games.
Senior Matt Pattyson (Doylestown, Pa.) and sophomore Aaron Gao (Bridgewater, N.J.) both played vital roles in 2019-20 and will be looked upon to continue their production this winter. Pattyson averaged a career-high 4.3 points and boasted a team-best 3.30 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Gao, who started 10 contests, chipped in with 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
FORWARDS IN FOCUS
Junior Beau Smith (Germantown, N.Y.) and sophomore Matt Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) both look to have expanded roles in 2021. Smith reached double figures in scoring twice and averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor, and Corey contributed 1.5 points and 1.3 boards in 11 contests.
HERE'S TO GOOD HEALTH
After missing much of last two seasons due to injury, juniors Max Gussen (Medford, N.J.) and Teddy Sourlis (Rumson, N.J.) are both healthy and looking to make an impact on the court this winter for the Green and White.
When Babson opens its season on Saturday it will become the first NEWMAC school to compete in a men's basketball game this winter. Overall, the Beavers are aiming to be just the 11th New England program to take the court joining six schools from the Little East and four others from the NAC.
NEW LOOK SCHEDULE
With many of its usual rivals opting out of the 2020-21 season, Babson will face some unfamiliar opponents in the coming months. The Beavers will open the season by taking on New England College for the first time since 1998 this coming weekend, and are set to take on Eastern Nazarene for the first time since 2002 in March. The Green and White also will play a pair of GNAC foes in St. Joseph's (Conn.), which added men's sports in 2018, and local rival Lasell in late February.