NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Men’s basketball season preveiw

Men’s basketball will begin their season with their first midnight madness event in program history. The event took place on Nov 1st, the first official game of the NJCAA season. 

The Knights finished 31-1 and made their first national tournament appearance in program history. This has created excitement around the program that has never been greater. Although they fell short of their goal of a championship,they are looking to avenge the loss by making it further this season. 

a photo of NECC basketball playersNECC website

A group of Knights players

“We had a pretty good run last year, but we did not achieve our ultimate goal of a national championship and we can see everyone is hungry for that already” said sophomore Ata Savas Kurtulus of Turkey. 

Already The Knights have received national recognition. They were ranked fifth nationally by the NJCAA men’sbasketball committee. This is the first time the program has ever been nationally recognized in the preseason. 

The roster has turned over quite a bit from last. However, a duo of from last year’s squad, first team All-Americanmember Luis Reynoso of Lawerence, and team Captain Darlin Santiago are prepared to take on leadership roles. 

“If I mess up and my teammates mess up, I will let them know they got it next time. I will let them put their heads down and keep competing,” said Santiago. 

Reynoso had an incredible 2022-2023 campaign. He was named to the first team All-American. He averaged a team high of 19 points per game, 13 rebounds and 3.4 assists.  

The projected starting five are guards Santiago, freshman Jalen Aquino of Lawerence, MA Edwin SamMbaka of Paris,France. Reynoso who will start at forward and freshman Karl Wolfgang of Douala, Cameron will play at the center position 

Leading this roster is head coach Darren Stratton. Stratton will enter his 21st season across two stints with NECC.During his tenure he has an all-time record of (288-202). Stratton was also named the NJCAA east district coach of the year last season. 

Notable games on the schedule include midnight madness on Nov 1st at the fitness center. The NECC Turkey classic on Nov 25th against SNUY Adirondack and Nov 26th vs Suffolk community college. The Knights will wrap up the regular season against Bristol community college away on Feb 24th. 

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