NORTHFIELD — The Norwich University men’s basketball team will return to the court for Friday’s season opener under the guidance of 26-year veteran coach Paul Booth.
A mix of newcomers and dynamic returning players will attempt to lead Norwich back to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs for the second straight year.
Booth has 275 career victories under his belt and is the winningest coach in school history. Last year’s squad reached the GNAC playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
The Cadets will rely heavily on six returning players and the majority of the roster is new. The team replaces seven seniors who graduated with a new crew of 10 freshmen. Daniel Haimes is the lone senior and he returns for his fourth season with Norwich. He has appeared in 63 games in his career, averaging 6.1 points per contest.
The junior class features two returnees and a pair of newcomers. Josh Dumay and Dan Bertrand return to Northfield, while Conner Miller and Barre product Matt Allen join the program. Dumay appeared in 12 games a year ago and made 80 percent of his attempts from the field, while Bertrand also saw action in 12 games.
Miller comes to the program from Vermont Tech. He appeared in 57 games over two seasons at VTC, averaging 4.4 points, 3.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per contest in his career. He’s joined by Allen, who transfers in from Thomas College. Allen played in 44 games at Thomas and finished his sophomore season averaging 4.7 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field. Both will look to make an impact in their first season in Northfield.
Three sophomores return for Norwich, as Jesse Davis, Christopher Bryant and Northfield’s Kyle Booth attempt to make the next step in their development. Bryant saw action in seven games as a freshman, putting forth his best effort against Albertus Magnus with six points and five rebounds in 17 minutes on the floor.
After starting 21 games as a freshman, Kyle Booth is expected to make a big leap forward this season. The 6-foot-5 U-32 High School standout averaged 21.2 minutes per game, totaling five points and three rebounds per contest while shooting 43.6 percent from the field.
Jesse Davis is another young player with high expectations for his sophomore season after showing lots of potential last year. He appeared in 22 games and averaged 13.7 points to lead the Cadets. He took home GNAC Player and Rookie of the Week awards after putting up scoring totals of 24 and 25 points during the Cadets’ trip to Florida last year. He became the first Cadet to take home a Player of the Week award since 2013. He recorded double-digit point totals in 14 games.
Colby-Sawyer College and the University of Saint Joseph (Connecticut) join the GNAC this year and the Cadets’ final 10 games of the regular season will include nine GNAC contests. The Cadets will travel to Thomas College for the Charlie Ryan Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Norwich will play its home opener Nov. 17 against Lesley.