One-on-One with men's basketball coach Paul Cormier
With basketball season getting underway, The Dartmouth sat down with men’s basketball head coach Paul Cormier to get a look at how this year’s team will look to build on last season’s performance. The Big Green (0-1,0-0 Ivy) ended last season on a strong finish, recording a 7-7 record in conference play and earning a postseason bid for the first time in 56 years. They played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, where they fell in the first round to Canisius College. The preseason media poll picked the Big Green to finish sixth in the conference, but with a strong freshman class and several experienced seniors, the team looks primed to turn some heads in the Ivy League.
How is this team building on last season and replacing production from the team’s departures?
PC: This year we have a different type of team. We lost three very good players last year: John Golden [’15], who was a stalwart on defense, Gabas Maldunas [’15], who was probably our best player as far as overall. Our leading scorer, Alex Mitola [’16], decided to graduate in three years and take his fourth year of eligibility to another school.
How has your team’s identity changed since last season?
PC: We lost three key people, so we are putting a new style of play together that fits our talent. That means playing with much more depth. We don’t have a lot of stars, but we have a lot of solid, very good players. We are going to use that to our advantage, hopefully finding a couple key scorers in the group, and that might even come from our freshmen. Evan Boudreaux [’19] started off his college career with a phenomenal game against a tough, physical, athletic Seton Hall [University] team down at the Prudential Center.
Which seniors are you hoping to see take a leadership role on this team?
PC: All of them to be honest with you. Tommy Carpenter [’16], coming off our bench, is our captain. Our cavalry off the bench will include three or four seniors, and that experience they have will keep us up and maybe even give us a shot in the arm.
What brand of basketball are you hoping to play this season?
PC: We’ll be running a little bit more, going up and down. We won’t be setting up as many set plays as we have in the past. We ran a lot of two-man game, but now we are going to be a more equal opportunity offense where everyone contributes. We hope to have a much more balanced attack.
Can you tell me a little bit about the freshmen joining team this season?
PC: We have three freshmen in our class, two of which are ready to contribute right away, and the third one, Michael Stones [’19], is a tremendous athlete. As his skills develop and catch up to his athleticism I think down the line he will help us. We also have Evan Boudreaux, who was terrific and was the MVP of the game for us, starting this season. And we have another kid, Guilien Smith [’19], from Boston, who played 12 to 15 minutes in our opener against Seton Hall. It wasn’t a great starting game for him because they might be the toughest team we face all year, but he definitely looks comfortable. This was a great learning experience for these guys, and they are definitely going to help us down the road.
What can fans of Big Green basketball expect from this team this season?
PC: We are going to be a lot of fun to watch, I can guarantee you that. Rather than walk-it-up style, we are going to bring it up much more aggressively. Defensively, we are going to try to extend our defense a little bit because I think we have the depth and the quickness up front. We can put a lot of really quick athletes on the floor. It is going to be a different type of team than we have been in the past.
This interview has been edited and condensed.