Men’s basketball to build on last season with new additions


Nadya Makay

Head coach Kelvin Jefferson speaks to the men’s basketball team at practice on Oct. 26.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

In its 76th season of men’s basketball, Gannon University put together a solid campaign with a record of 14-13 overall and 13-9 in the PSAC. After going 11-18 in the season prior, it was a nice rebound of a year under first-year coach Kelvin Jefferson.

Jefferson has over 25 years of coaching experience, which includes 12 years at the Division I level as an assistant.

The Knights were eventually knocked out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) playoffs by California University of Pennsylvania, but the season laid the framework for what seems to be a promising future.

Gannon relied on its defense throughout the season, ranking fourth in the PSAC in points allowed per game with 67.9. The Knights were a pesky bunch to play against, ranking third in the PSAC with 7.7 steals per game as well.

While the PSAC is known to be one of the better Division II conferences in college basketball, the Knights wanted even more competition on their schedule.

They played two Division I opponents in Indiana University and St. Bonaventure.

Two Gannon players were able to capture end-of-season awards in DeAnte Cisero and Frank Webb Jr.

Both players were named to the all-PSAC second team.

Cisero led the Knights in points per game with 14.1 and in rebounds per game with 5.6. Webb averaged 13.1 points per game while matching Cisero’s 5.6 rebounds per game.

Gannon will have to make up for lost points this season after losing its top three scorers in Cisero, Webb and Matt Johnson.

The Knights will look toward established contributors such as Chris Clancy, who averaged 9.3 points per game, and Michael Tertsea, who shot 50% from the field, to shoulder more of the load.

In addition to the returning players, the Knights will have many new faces on the team. Their roster will include four freshmen – Ike Herster of Kennedy Catholic, Alfonso Pickens Jr. from Cathedral Prep, Robertas Jonaitis and Emanuel Henriques.

Gannon also will feature four transfers: junior point guard Braden Olsen from West Linn, Ore., Justin Copman, a 6-foot-6 junior from Cumberland, Md., Ian Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 center from Erie, and Donovan Forte, a 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore from Cleveland.

Jefferson said he is confident in what these new players can bring.

“We were able to address all of our needs with this recruiting class: size, scoring and experience,” Jefferson said in a post on the university’s athletics website. “Braden and Alfonso give us two talented point guards while we improved our scoring and size on the perimeter with Ike, Rob and Emanuel. In the front court, we have added size and experience. Donovan, Justin and Ian have experience and are ready to contribute from day one.”

The Knights will return to the Hammermill Center this winter to begin their 2020-21 season. The Hammermill Center ranked second in PSAC attendance last year for men’s basketball.

The schedule for men’s basketball has yet to be released by the PSAC or by Gannon, but it is expected to be finalized and released soon.

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