The 2013-2014 University of Maine at Fort Kent men’s basketball team features nine new faces and five returns off a team that struggled through the worst season in Head Coach Eric Werntgen’s nine year career with the team. Last season the Bengals went 2-23 and missed the post-season for the first time since 2000 when they were an NAIA Independent.
This season the revamped Bengal roster features nine new players including Aroostook County stars Jared Hafford from Easton High School as well as Mike McClung and Joe Stiles who both played for Central Aroostook. Joining that trio from Maine is Abdi Hussein who played at Lewiston High School.
The five other new faces include three junior college transfers in James Givens (Solano CC-California / Fairfield, California), Kevin Phillips (Columbia-Greene CC-Hudson, NY / Harlem, NY) and Mauro Vicic (Massasoit CC-Massachusetts / Croatia) and two international true freshmen David Martinez (Spain) and Nikola Vukosavovic (Montenegro).
Returners from last year are sophomore Yuri Belizaire (Miramar, Florida), junior Jeremy Bishop (Montreal, QC), junior Glenn Gaitor (Freeport, Bahamas), junior Jorge Matesanz (Spain) and sophomore Fred Sanchez (Bronx, NY).
UMFK will again complete as a United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division I Independent. Under Division I Men’s Basketball rules, the Bengals will have to finish in the top eight nationally to earn an invitation to the USCAA National Championships which are held in Uniontown, Pennsylvania March 4-8, 2014. The Bengals made their first trip to the USCAA Nationals in March of 2012, prior to missing out last season.
To return, UMFK must earn their way into the top eight rankings by navigating through yet another challenging schedule. The 2013-2014 slate includes dates with in-state USCAA Maine rivals U-Maine-Machias (Nov. 16 Star City Classic @ UMPI, Dec. 5 home and Jan. 24 away) and U-Maine-Presque Isle (Nov. 17 Star City Classic, Dec. 11 away and Feb. 5 home).
The UMFK men and women are proud to be a part of a four-year Can-Am Classic which will begin Jan. 4 & 5 in Fort Kent. The Bengals will face Dalhousie Tech Jan. 5 and University of New Brunswick-St. John on Jan. 5.
The Bengals also face stiff out-of-area Division I USCAA competition against the likes of Apprentice-VA (Jan. 8 away), Virginia-Lynchburg (Jan. 9 away, Feb.1 home), Washington Adventist (Jan. 11 away) and the USCAA Defending National Champion Rochester College-MI (Jan. 19 & Jan. 20 in MLK Jr. Classic, Montreal).
The Bengals take on former Sunrise Conference rival Fisher College (Nov. 9 home, Feb. 18 away) as well as two-time USCAA Division II National Participants Vermont Tech (Jan. 25 away) and Berkeley-NY (Feb. 11 away). UMFK will take on NCAA Division I school New Jersey Institute of Technology on Feb. 12 in Newark, NJ.
Please access the full 27-game schedule here.
UMFK home games will be webcasted live on-line by BengalVision featuring commentary. Games can be viewed starting 5 minutes prior to scheduled tip-off.