This was supposed to be a rebuilding season.
After sprinting to the elite eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament last March before bowing out in OT to the eventual champ, the C.W. Post men’s basketball team wasn’t expected to recover from the loss of six heralded seniors.
Nick Carter, the son of former Knick Reggie Carter, is gone. So too are a pair of point guards – Kevin Spann and Jonathan Schmidt – who first made names for themselves starring in the Catholic league.
This is a much different cast than the one that rolled to a 30-0 start.
And yet C.W. Post is very much alive and kicking after Monday night’s hard-fought 98-85 road win over rival Queens College. After an uneven 3-4 start to the season, the Pioneers (9-4 overall, 5-2 conference) have won six straight and look like contenders again in the East Coast Conference.
Nemanja Jokic, a 6-7 Serbian senior, led C.W. Post with 24 points. Senior guard Roberto Macklin scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and freshman Jonathan Kohler added 17.
Much to the chagrin of conference and Long Island rivals Molloy, NYIT and Dowling, C.W. Post coach Tim Cluess has this team headed on the right path once again. Post leads the ECC in offense (80.7 points a game), defense (69.5), field goal percentage (.488) and rebound margin (9.4). And Jokic is the conference’s third leading scorer and rebounder.
The Pioneers are 7-0 at home and that edge couldn’t come at a better time. C.W. Post will host first-place Bridgeport (8-5, 7-0) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Pratt Recreation Center.
No, don’t dance on the grave of last season’s historic run. The Pioneers may not win 30 games again, but they are good enough to repeat at ECC champs. Believe it.