History Shows Maine Can Compete Successfully with Maine Players

Over the years there have been many Mainers that helped UMaine Men’s Basketball.

From Keith Mahaney, Fort Fairfield and John Norris, Bangor in the mid 50’s, to Skip Chappelle, Don Sturgeon, Old Town, Jon Ingalls, Bangor and Wayne Champeon, Greenville in 59-60 when they went 19-4 and finished tied for 2nd in the Old Yankee Conference against the likes of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This was the most honored team in Maine’s history.

Jim Stephenson, Fort Fairfield, Terry Carr, Stearns, John Gillette, Westbrook, Guy Strang, Bangor, and Mark Todd, Rumford in the 60’s.

Peter, Willie, Steve Gavett, Orono. Tony Hamlin, Milo, Bob Warner, Thornton Academy, Kevin Nelson, Foxcroft Academy. Dennis Stanley, Mexico, Steve Condon, Presque Isle ect. in the 70’s.

Jeff Sturgeon, Old Town, Jeff Topliff, Orono, Paul Cook, Lubec, Matt Rossignol, Van Buren, Dean Smith, Foxcroft, Derrick Hodge. Hyde in the 80’s.

Andy Bedard, Mt. Valley, Corey Thibodeau, Old Town, and Francois Bouchard, Old Orchard in the 90’s.

Joe Campbell, Bangor, Chris Markwood, South Portland/Notre Dame, Mark Socoby, Houlton/Bangor, Jordan Cook, Hampden,
Junior Bernal, Hyde/MCI, Steve McNally, Gardiner, Troy Barnies, Edward Little, Ricky White, Mt. Aarat in the 2000’s.

All listed were good D-1 players. There are Mainers who can help now. Maine can’t lose the Tom Knight’s, Chris Braley’s, Matt Cimino’s, Jon Kunz’s, Ken Rassi’s, Mark Reed’s, T.J. Caoutte’s. Nick Cander-Medly’s, Matt Barr’s, Ralph Mim’s, Don Crosby’s, Sam Leclerc’s, etc. to out-of-state D-1 colleges.

A new strategy has to encourage and convince each recruit that Maine really wants them. Maine has to have the recruits best interest first before anything else. If a Mainer wants to be an impact D-1 player by their sophomore year they have to go to prep school. Maine must convince them of that and then tell them if after prep school they get a offer from a higher ranked program, then Maine wishes them the best of luck. However, remind them that if they decide they want to transfer back to Maine there is a scholarship available.

Maine Coaches have not encouraged Mainers who had D-1 potential to go to prep school because they could lose them to better D-1 program, especially to AE Conference Opponents.

Going to prep school is an absolute necessity as Mainers need that year to mature both physically and mentally and get accumulated to being away from home, the tougher competition in practices and games,the longer schedules and practices and the long road trips. If a Mainer cannot get a scholarship to a prep school then they probably are not D-1 material.

Only two Mainers will play D-1 next year and both went to Prep School. Matt Cimino, Cheverus will be a freshmen at George Washington and Chris Braley, Nokomis who will be at Stonybrook as a sophomore.

Zack Gilpin of Hampden this Years Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball Finalist is attending Bridgton Academy and is a legitimate D-1 prospect.

Currently, several Maine players playing either D-2 or D-3, had they gone to prep school would have been able to help Maine. Graham Safford, Camden-Hills at Bates, Keegan Hyland, So. Portland. Tyler McFarland, Camden Hills, Alex Furness, Wells and Andrew Shaw, Wells/Thornton Academy all at D-2 Bentley.

2012-13 Bentley lead by the Mainers mentioned above beat D-2 UMass-Lowell, who Maine lost to twice this past season in ML’s D-1 first year in the AE Conference.

Mainers would increase interest and attendance.

Maine can produce defenders, shooters and point guards as D-1 prospects (if they go to prep school). What it doesn’t produce on a regular basis is big men. So Maine may have to go outside of Maine or the country to recruit needed big men who can be develop quickly and who no one else is really after.

Don’t tell me that Maine cannot be successful using Maine Born players, in a conference that was ranked 29th out of 32 this past year.

Since 1950 over 50% of Maine’s Leading scorers each season were from Maine.

P.S. Sorry, I know I have overlooked some names of Mainers who made contributions to the UMaine Men’s Basketball Program over the years.