Skidmore Heads into a Weekend Showdown with Middlebury Riding High: Wilson Gibbons on the Skidmore Men's Basketball Team

Posted by Wilson Gibbons

The men's basketball team, after losing its first game of the season, has now won its last five relying heavily on underclassmen this season.

Perhaps to the surprise of their opponents, the all-freshman starting backcourt of Aldin Medunjanin '16 and Tanner Brooks '16, have not missed a beat. Many wrote off this team due to the high roster turnover from last season, but they are rapidly proving they can play with anyone.

Brooks was recently awarded the Liberty League Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. He submitted a 24-point, four-assist performance against Castleton College and followed it up with a solid 18-point, five-assist game against SUNY Cobleskill. Both games resulted in a win for the Thoroughbreds.

However, the victory over Cobleskill came at a high price as Brooks tore his meniscus in the process, although he remains hopeful about his return.

"I have to get surgery on Friday, but the good news is it should be a quick recovery, hopefully two weeks," Brooks said. "I should be back after winter break for league play."

Medunjanin stepped up in Brooks' absence, notching 26 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists in a come-from-behind win against SUNY Oneonta. The Thoroughbreds will need stellar performances like that to continue as they move forward.

Still, Connor Merrill '15, who currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding, sees room for improvement.

"We're not near where we should be," Merrill said. "We haven't played our best game yet, we still have a lot of things to work on."

The improvements will have to come fast as the College is set to face defending NESCAC champion Middlebury College on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Panthers are currently ranked third in the nation according to d3hoops.com. They have a total of eight players on their roster who are 6'6" and above, as compared to just one for Skidmore. Obviously, rebounding will be a huge concern heading into Saturday's game.

"We've got to rebound," Merrill said. "[This game] is going to be a slow-paced, grind it out, who's tougher than who type of game."

Despite, or perhaps because of, Skidmore's youth, they remain wholly optimistic about their chances.

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