Owls look for Sunrise breakthrough

14 years ago

Owls look for Sunrise breakthrough

PRESQUE ISLE — The men’s basketball team at the University of Maine at Presque Isle is looking forward to taking another step towards its ultimate goal of a Sunrise Conference championship.

After narrowly missing the conference’s playoff “final four” a season ago, the Owls want to make sure they experience that this time around.

“We have a good core group back from last year and with a talented group of transfers and freshmen we should be right in the thick of things come February,” said third-year coach Terry Cummings.

SP-UMPImensteam-dc-arshpt-48Contributed photo
UMPI OWLS – Members of the University of Maine at Presque Isle men’s basketball team are, in front from left, Gerado Vasquez, Jordan Bragan, Brad Trask, Aaron Hutchins, Devon Peaslee, Brennan Morton and Chad Duff. Back row, assistant coach Alan Gordon, Miguel Vazquez, Jeremy Brock, Michael Warner, Chris Coffin, Patrick Manifold, Cliff McDonald, Ross Sanders, Jeff Morton, Malcolm Turner and head coach Terry Cummings. Absent when photo was taken was Kyle Corrigan.


Leading the way this year will be the Owls’ tri-captains – 6-foot-5 senior Chris Coffin from Presque Isle, 5-8 junior Devon Peaslee of Woolwich and 6-8 sophomore Patrick Manifold of Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom.

Coffin was the leading three-point shooter for the Owls last year and creates difficult matchups for opposing teams due to his ability to both post up inside and step out beyond the arc to drain three-pointers.

Peaslee can handle either guard position and plays intense defense and had some huge games last year.

Manifold worked hard over the summer to improve his game. He is 20 lbs. heavier, which will really pay dividends when he gets the ball on the low block. He was the Rookie of the Year for the AD3I (Association of Division 3 Independents) across the United States and led the team in double doubles.

Four other veterans also return for UMPI, looking to make major contributions.

Kyle Corrigan, a junior from Caribou, has just returned to the squad after missing the first few weeks of workouts and will aid the team in a number of ways in the backcourt. He averaged 11 ppg and four assists a season ago, including a season-high 26 in a victory over SUNY-Canton.

“He’s a piece we were missing,” Cummings said. “He gives us another weapon and can come in immediately and fill the point guard position. He played his best basketball at the end of last season and everyone’s excited about having him back.”

Brad Trask, a sophomore from Easton, will be counted on to fill a bigger role this year. Trask is a sharp shooter and also plays aggressive defense. “He never takes a possession off and is always asking what he can do to improve,” Cummings said.

Jeremy Brock, a junior from Easton and a high school teammate of Trask’s, is coming off an early pre-season ankle injury, but should recover soon and be able to contribute immediately. Brock has a great attitude and is a third-year player with the experience and desire to help the team win.

Jeff Morton, a sophomore from Pittsfield, should also contribute this year. Sidelined most of the second semester last year with a shoulder injury, Morton has entered this season with his “never say die” attitude, according to the coach, and has been a pleasant surprise.

Highlighting the list of newcomers is 6-6 senior Clifford McDonald of Sarasota, Fla. McDonald is a transfer from conference rival UM-Machias and was a first-team all-conference selection last year. He led the league in rebounding last year and averaged 18 points per game.

“McDonald is a great guy and a very unselfish player,” Cummings said. “He fit right in from day one. He didn’t try to make it his team but he knows what it takes to win.”

Miguel Vazquez, a senior from Sarasota, Fla. also comes by way of UM-Machias.

“Vazquez works really hard and takes great pride in his defense,” Cummings said. “He will be a sparkplug off the bench for us.”

Gerardo Vasquez, no relation to Miguel, played for UM-Machias during the 2008-09 season but stayed home in Houston, Texas last year and attended a local community college.

“He will step in and contribute immediately,” Cummings said. “He has a great will to win and will be our best on-ball defender. He can play either the point guard position and can also shoot the ball pretty well.”

Aaron Hutchins, a 5-7 sophomore from East Millinocket, is another guard that can “light up the scoreboard in a hurry,” according to Cummings. He is expected to get extended playing time for the Owls this season.

Michael Warner, a 6-3 freshman from Norwich, United Kingdom, turned some heads during the pre-season with his outside shooting ability and strong rebounding. Malcolm Turner, a 6-2 freshman from New York City, played for the Lee Academy prep team last year and should help with his ability to play multiple positions.

Another newcomer is 5-4 junior Brennen Morton from Chepachet, R.I., who played at Central Maine Community College last season. “He is a very smart and intense player who will be a leader on and off the floor,” Cummings said.

Rounding out the squad is a trio of talented freshmen. Ross Saunders, a 6-4 forward, played for Ellsworth High School and according to Cummings is “gaining confidence everyday and should become an impact player for the Owls as he continues to develop his game.”

Chad Duff, a 5-10 guard from East Hodgdon who starred at Greater Houlton Christian Academy, is another welcome addition to the Owls.

“He plays the game the right way, working hard and having fun,” Cummings said. “He should become a good player for the Owls once he adjusts to the college game.”

Jordan Bragan, a 5-10 guard from Houlton, joined the team late “but is showing signs of what he can do on the floor,” said the coach. “He works hard and plays with confidence. I expect great things from him.”

Cummings feels the team has the schedule to help prepare the Owls for a run at the post-season.

“Our tough non-conference first semester schedule against the likes of last year’s North Atlantic Conference champion UM-Farmington and runners-up Thomas College should really prepare us for the second semester conference games,” he said. “We will be a work in progress – getting the new guys adjusted to the new system and coach, and getting them to jell as a team, but we should be in every game and give ourselves a chance to win.”

He said this year’s unit has the personnel to challenge the best teams in the Sunrise Conference.

“We are looking for a breakout season as we believe we have all the pieces to the puzzle,” Cummings said. “We know a lot of things still have to go right and we are ready for the challenge.”

The Owls travel to Waterville today to take on Thomas College at 5 p.m. After a 10-day layoff, UMPI goes back to work with its first home game of the season against Maine Maritime Academy Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.

UMPI Men’s Basketball Roster
No. Name Grade
1 Gerardo Vasquez So.
3 Devon Peaslee Sr.
5 Brad Trask So.
10 Aaron Hutchins Fr.
12 Brennen Morton Jr.
13 Kyle Corrigan Jr.
14 Chad Duff Fr.
15 Malcolm Turner Fr.
20 Miguez Vazquez Sr.
22 Jordan Bragan Fr.
23 Patrick Manifold So.
25 Jeff Morton So.
31 Clifford McDonald Sr.
32 Michael Warner Fr.
34 Jeremy Brock Jr.
35 Ross Sanders Fr.
52 Chris Coffin Sr.