Widener basketball is off to a good start

Matt Leon
November 29, 2019 - 10:54 am
Chris Carideo

David Morgan/Stylish Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It has been a tremendous start to the season for the Division III Widener University men's basketball team.

The Pride have rolled out to a 6-0 start heading into a Saturday afternoon road game at Farmingdale State.

"The biggest part of our success early on this year has been the leadership of our two seniors, (guard/forwards) Elijah Boyd and Connor Laverty," Widener head coach Chris Carideo said. "They have really done a great job of keeping our guys focused on the defensive end of the floor, which is where we kind of try and pride ourselves on being really good and helping our defense kind of generate our offense. Those guys have really grown as players, emotionally and physically, and maybe have become two of the better leaders that we've had."

The defensive numbers for the Pride so far really are impressive. They are holding opponents to just 60.5 points per game and 36% shooting from the field. Their work on shots from deep is even more impressive as opponents are connecting on just 28% of their shots from three.

"I think what this team has done better than most, especially this early, is that we're able to kind of scheme and play teams differently depending on what their strengths are," Carideo said of the defensive success.

Carideo says depth was a bit of a question for him coming into the season, but he's gotten some good news on that front so far.

"We've had some younger guys really kind of get better in the offseason which was important for us," he said. "Just seeing them in game action, a few sophomores come to mind, (guards) AJ Sawyers, Kolbey Woodard and Patrick Holden. All three of those guys improved dramatically in the offseason, and they have all helped us with our depth. We have a freshman in (guard/forward) Steven Matlack from Lenape High School in South Jersey that's kind of stepped into our top eight, and we're trying to grow some other guys into our ninth and 10th spots in our rotation."

One other early highlight for the Pride, their last win, a 78-52 victory over Misericordia earlier this week, was Carideo's 200th as the head coach at Widener.

Widener's game on Saturday against Farmingdale State tips off at 3 p.m.

Follow Matt Leon on Twitter @MattLeon1060.​