University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2006-07 Season Preview

ATH04_COA_004_rukavina_bob_T2006-07 Men's Basketball Season Preview
    
After finishing last season with a 21-6 record, expectations for the 2006-07 season are high for Head Coach Bob Rukavina (18th year) and his Pitt Johnstown Mountain Cat basketball team.  The Mountain Cats return eight lettermen, including three starters and senior guard Dwight Hines (Aliquippa, Pa.), a two-year starter who returns after missing last season with an injury.

     Leading the way for Pitt Johnstown is 6’7”, junior forward Chris Gilliam (Baltimore, MD), last season’s Independent Basketball Player of the Year.  Gilliam led NCAA Division II in field goal percentage and was the team’s leading scorer at 18.6 points per game.  Senior point guard and three-year starter J.J. Schumacher (Castle Shannon, Pa.) returns to run the Mountain Cat offense.  In addition, sophomore center Kyle Goldcamp (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the Independent Basketball Freshman of the Year, and sophomore guard/forward Marcus Tullis (Johnstown, Pa.), an Independent All-Freshman Team selection, also return.
      Gilliam, Goldcamp and Tullis should give Pitt Johnstown a trio of post players as formidable as any in the East Region.  Along with leading the country in field goal percentage at 68.6% (199-290) and the team in scoring, Gilliam also pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game and shot 70.3% (104-148) from the free-throw line.  “Chris had a great season last year and worked hard in the off-season,” Coach Rukavina said of Gilliam, one of the nation’s premier post players.  “He has improved his shooting and can go by you with the dribble, which will make him a tough match-up.”
      The 6’10” Goldcamp returned to school bigger and stronger after pacing the Mountain Cats in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and finishing second on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg.).  Goldcamp was a defensive force in the paint as a freshman, wrapping up the season ranked seventh in the nation in blocks per game at 2.7 (74 blocks).  “Kyle is as athletic a big man as you will see in Division II.  He takes pride in out-working his opponents.  He’ll be a force to be reckon with this season,” Coach Rukavina said. 
     Rounding out the Mountain Cats’ returning post players is the 6’6” Tullis.  After red-shirting in 2004-05, Tullis joined the starting line-up and averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.  Tullis also knocked down 11 three-pointers and dished out 49 assists.  “Marcus had a great second half of the season last year.”  He is in the top-5 players I have coached as far as basketball I.Q.  He knows the game well and does good things at both ends of the floor.”
     The Mountain Cats also have plenty of leadership and experience at the guard spots.  Hines and Schumacher, this year’s team captains, must be leaders on the floor.  In 2004-05, Hines averaged 13.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.  “Dewey is our most athletic guard.  With his strength and quickness, I feel he can give opposing guards something to worry about on both ends of the court.”  Schumacher averaged 6.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and dished out a team-high 111 assists a year ago.  He enters the year ranked seventh on the Mountain Cat All-Time Assist List with 273.  “J.J. is fierce competitor who does a lot of the dirty work a coach loves to see,” Coach Rukavina said.
     Coach Rukavina also looks for 6’3” sophomore guard Quinton Davis (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (4.9 ppg., 3.4 rpg.) to be a major factor both offensively and defensively.  “Quinton had an outstanding freshman year on the defensive end.  He also improved tremendously offensively with hard work over the summer,” Coach Rukavina said. 
     Bringing additional depth to the back court are sophomores William Sharpe (Johnstown, Pa.) (2.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg., 2.9 apg.) and Matt Ionadi (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (2.3 ppg., 1.4 rpg.) and red-shirt freshman Andy Byer (Tire Hill, Pa.)Sharpe is expected to back-up the point guard position. “Trey brings us good athleticism when we sub at the guard spot.  His speed and quickness should lead us to some easy baskets.”  Ionadi and Byer will provide the Mountain Cats with legitimate three-point threats coming off the bench.  “Matt really improved his shooting in the off season.  I’m looking for him to be a major contributor from the outside.  Andy, will be another factor off our bench after he gains some confidence.  He might be our best three-point shooter.  Plus, he has the ability to put the ball on the floor,” Coach Rukavina said.
     Rounding out the 2006-07 Mountain Cat squad are red-shirt freshman guard Jordan Medich (North Huntingdon, Pa.), sophomore guard Myles Sites (Fairfield, Pa.) and freshman forward Steve Heidenthal (Clymer, Pa.).
     Coach Rukavina will red-shirt guards Andy Parker (Laurel, MD) and Dan Hirsch (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
     This year’s schedule is one of the Mountain Cats’ toughest in years.  With early season match-ups against future West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) foes and recent NCAA Tournament participants and 20-game winners West Liberty State (WV) College, Wheeling Jesuit University and West Virginia State University, the first two weeks of the season will tell a lot about this year’s team.   The Mountain Cats also have a difficult second half schedule.  Pitt Johnstown travels to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) powers Shippensburg University and California University (PA) and plays home-and-home games with Indiana University (PA) and Mansfield University. 
     Pitt Johnstown, which joined the WVIAC last summer, will not compete for a conference championship this season.  As a result, Coach Rukavina and the Mountain Cats, who owned the best record among Independent teams a year ago, will travel to Fort Myers, FL from February 23-27 to play in the NCAA Division II Independent Tournament.  
     The Mountain Cats have the talent and the experience to be one of the top teams in the East Region.  If Pitt Johnstown is able to navigate through a difficult schedule, the Mountain Cats could be making their third appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament at the end of the season.
Last Reviewed: November 8, 2006