BY DAVID RUSSELL
Queens College has split its first 12 games under men’s head basketball coach Matt Collier. It’s been an up and down season which has seen the Knights lost by 30 to Adelphi and then came back in its next game and beat Mercy College by 20. “It’s great to compete against both teams and see what this level is all about,” Collier said. “It’s a learning process.”
The Knights started the season with seven straight road games. “No out of conference games were scheduled when I was hired,” Collier said. “Everyone who agreed to play said it had to be at their home. All things considered, going 3-4 wasn’t the worst thing in the world.”
Senior guard/forward Tyree White is leading Queens in points (16.1) and assists per game (3.1). White, who never played high school basketball, was named East Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season. He was previously the CUNYAC Player of the Year when he was at Hostos. “He’s tremendous,” Collier said. “He gives us everything he has on both ends of the floor.
He’s a tough matchup for other teams. I’m not looking forward to coaching without him next year but that’s how college basketball goes.”
Other scoring contributors are senior guards Diego Maldonado and Kyheim Chaplin, who are averaging 14.7 and 11.6 points per game, respectively. “We have a lot of balance with our other guys,” Collier said.
With only two players over 6’5”, the Knights have relied on the outside shot. “We have a good amount of shooters,” Collier said.
“We like to shoot the three. We’ve taken more and made more, if we’re not first in the conference, we’re second. There’s not a whole lot of height on the team this year so we’re not going to be pounding people around the basket. Not every shot will be a three but we play to our strengths.”
At the beginning of the season, the coach told his team that the only way they wouldn’t be dominated on the boards would be if the team was ferocious and the players have embraced it. “We try to keep teams out of the lane and limit post touches as much as possible,” Collier said. That forces the opponent to look for shots on the perimeter and the Knights lead the conference in three-point field goal percentage defense.
The Knights have a solid home-court advantage, having won the first three games played at Queens College. “I’ve been very happy with our turnout at home games,” Collier said. “The administration has done a good job getting people excited. We’re getting support from other athletes. It’s a great environment for home games.”
Queens College returns home for a matchup with Daeman on January 11.