MONT ALTO, Pa. – Jack Schenzel begins his seventh season at the helm of the Penn State Mont Alto basketball program Friday when the team hosts its annual John Benchoff Tournament hosted inside the Multipurpose Activities Center. The tournament will include Davis College, Williamson Trade, Penn State York and Penn State Mont Alto. The Nittany Lions will play at 8 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The 2017-18 roster surely looks different from the past few years without the likes of three-time USCAA All-American Jerome Evans and USCAA All-American Sharif Welton in the lineup. According to head coach Jack Schenzel each player on the roster will have an opportunity to play because of their specific skill sets.
"We're not that tall, but we are going to put pressure on opposing teams defensively and I think this will be an exciting brand of basketball that fans will enjoy watching," said Schenzel.
The team features six returnees including point guard Terrell Campbell (Germantown, Md. / St. John's College Prep) who averaged 6.5 assists per game and Jalen Smith (Ranson, W. Va. / Jefferson) who has averaged 13.2 points per game in 39 appearances for the Nittany Lions.
Mont Alto will also have a familiar face within the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) in Nick Jacoby (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg) who transferred to Mont Alto from PSU Schuylkill. Another transfer expected to pay immediate dividends for the Lions is redshirt freshman Marcus Roper (Charles Town, W. Va. / Jefferson) who comes from Mount St. Mary's.
The Lions also brought in an exceptional freshmen class, and while growing pains are expected with a young roster, it is evident that the 2017-18 roster is the foundation for potentially making a run at a PSUAC Championship and USCAA National Championships.
"Offensively we are going to try to push the ball as often as possible since we don't have Jerome Evans anymore to throw the ball into the post," said Schenzel. "Scoring is going to be a lot more diverse and with our roster we could have five or six guy's average double figures on any given night."
Fans can also expect Mont Alto to emulate West Virginia University and Bob Huggins press defense.
"We are going to pressure and speed teams up or slow them down based upon the press just to keep the opposition off their tempo as well as keep them out of rhythm," said Schenzel.
A video preview is available above by clicking on the PLAY icon. It features interviews with Schenzel and junior point guard Terrell Campbell (Germantown, Md. / St. John's College Prep).
Mont Alto opens its season Friday, November 10 against Davis College in the 2017 John Benchoff Tournament.