By Thomas Gillen
With 14 games remaining in its 2016-17 season, the men’s basketball team stands at 4-10, with a 3-2 record in the conference. With six games remaining at home, head coach Erik Smiles knows the team has to improve their game in order to contend for a championship this season. “It seems like we play 36 great minutes every game and then don’t execute in the last four to six minutes. It’s important for us to clean up every game and remain consistent throughout the season,” Smiles said.
Smiles’ goal this season is to lead the team to a championship after playing in the East Coast Conference Championship last season. The Pioneers beat the University of Bridgeport in the first game but lost to Saint Thomas Aquinas College 85-58 in the semifinals last year. “This year we are better seeded in the conference and we have great offensive skills,” Smiles said. “While our defensive skills are getting there, we have six freshmen on the team who are still trying to get adjusted to the game.”
One of those freshmen is Hall Elisias, an undecided major who is the fifth highest scorer on the team, with 99 points through 13 games. Elisias also has 26 blocks, 27 free throws, and 95 rebounds, with 58 coming in the defensive zone. About the team’s performance this season, Elisias stated, “we have all the pieces to be great, but there are certain spots in the game that kill us each week. I don’t think anyone is happy about this season, but there is always room for improvement.”
Elisias played varsity basketball at Valley Stream South High School and was named All-State in 2016. His high school team won Nassau County Titles in 2014 and 2015 and a Long Island Championship in 2015. During his first semester playing at Post, Elisias stated that his mental toughness has been the biggest improvement in his game and has helped him transition to college basketball. “The amount of work has been the biggest difference between playing in high school and college. It’s not just about playing a game 40 minutes a week, it’s a 24 hour job that requires a lot of mental preparation.”
After beating Roberts Wesleyan College 86-64 in a non-conference game on Saturday, Jan. 7, the Pioneers will play 12 games against teams in their own conference, including Daeman College, Mercy College, and the University of the District of Columbia. The team’s next game is on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. against the University of the District of Columbia at the Pratt Recreation Center.