July 1 was a very big day in the life of the Merrimack College Men’s Basketball Team. That was the day the program became a full-fledged member of the NCAA. What that means to the defending Northeast Conference Tournament Champions is for the first time since becoming a Division 1 member, March madness is now on their radar. Their four-year relocation from DII to DI is now over, which is welcome news to head coach Joe Gallo, his players, and staff. As the 2023-24 season nears, new faces and one old one are getting ready to chase down the dream of every college basketball player. To play in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s take a look at the Merrimack roster that will chase after that goal.
There are ten new faces on this year’s roster, four are freshmen and six transfer or graduate students. A lot of turnover on a team that will be defending a championship come November. The new players on this year’s roster include Adam “Budd” Clark a 5-10 guard out of Philadelphia, Pa. who went to West Catholic High School, and Christian Foy 6-5 forward from North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, N.C. Edrick Quezada is a 6-6 forward from Brummer & May in Rockland, MA. Jaden Battle is a 6-0 guard from MacDuffie School in St. Albans, N.Y.
The transfer and graduate students that have joined the Warriors program included an old friend back in the fold. Guard Malik Edmead, who spent last season with the Albany Great Danes in America East, returns for his junior season. He played in 23 games a season ago shooting 42% from the field, averaging 5.6 points a game. He also shot 38% from 3-point land. Samba Diallo is a 6-7 forward who a season ago was at Manhattan College where he averaged six points a game and shot 49.8% from the field. Thomas Hall is a 6-4 guard from Albertus Magnus and he saw very little time a season ago. He played in only six games averaging two points a game.
Some size has been added in 7-0 foot Jacob O’Connell who a season ago was at Princeton University. He averaged 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds a game in limited play. He shot 42.9% from the field. Armandas Plintauskas is a 6-4 guard who last year was with Northern Illinois. He appeared in 28 games making one start. He averaged 1.9 points and one rebound a game. He also recorded seven assists in those games. He shot 32.7% from the field and 61.5% from the free throw line in 8.8 minutes of game time.
There has been a lot of turnover on this Merrimack team, so coach Gallo has work to do to get this team ready for what is ahead. The season is eight weeks away.
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