CASTLETON — It’s no secret that Castleton had a disappointing season a year ago. After finishing with an overall record of 3-22, and an 0-16 Little East Conference record the team is ready to put that chapter behind them and move forward.

Head coach Paul Culpo, who is heading in to his 11th season at the helm for the Spartans, believes that it is important to look ahead rather than dwell on the past.

“Last year hasn’t been mentioned at all. It has nothing to do with this year,” he said.

The team ended its first month of action last year with a 3-3 record, winning their home opener on Nov. 13, 2018 by a score of 81-67.

They then lost their first ever LEC game to Plymouth State 87-76, and they wouldn’t see another win for the rest of the season.

“Last year we failed because we didn’t always give our best effort. I am fine with losing to better teams so long as we compete to our full potential,” he said.

This type of attitude needs to be set by the players, and Culpo said that the returning players can do three things to help set the tone for the upcoming season.

“The best thing returning players can do is practice hard, lift hard and hit the books,” he said.

Two returning players Culpo mentioned were senior forward Igor Almeida and senior guard Casey Belade.

Almeida finished last season averaging 5.3 points per game, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists, while Belade averaged 10.5 points per game, 2.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists.

Culpo is hoping that the two can “Step up and lead the group.”

Castleton opens their season against Curry on Nov. 14, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. The Spartans did not play Curry last year.

Culpo is excited to get the season started and believes that there are three things that the team has to do in order to have a chance to start the year with a win. “We need to take care of the ball, share the ball and play together. If we can do those things, we will have a shot,” he said.

Culpo said that the team can and will be successful this season so long as they work hard all the time.

“Just compete,” he said. “Winning and losing has nothing to do with success. Failure is not trying or quitting, to give anything less than your best.”

The Spartans don’t have an LEC game scheduled until Dec. 4 when they will host Keene State in Glenbrook Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. The team has five games scheduled prior to that matchup, including the Granite City Shootout tournament in Barre.

Castleton is ranked last in the LEC Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll.

bob.fredette

@rutlandherald.com

Follow Bob on Twitter: @Bob_Fredette

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