Lamanna brings Division I system to Franciscan basketball
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – With a new coach at the helm, a new logo at the center of the newly redesigned court, and a wealth of new players, the Franciscan University of Steubenville men's basketball team is ready to begin a new era in the program's young history.
The team will be led by first year head coach John Lamanna. Hired by the University in July, Coach Lamanna comes from an extensive Division I coaching background. While he was an undergraduate, he served as a student assistant for four years at Washington State, before moving on to director of basketball operations at Loyola Marymount University while pursuing his master's degree. For the past five years Lamanna has served as an assistant coach at the University of California, Davis.
In addition to his college coaching experience, Lamanna was involved with the USA Basketball Junior National Team, Pan-American Team, and Youth National Festival . He was also an assistant coach on a college all-star team that competed against professional teams in New Zealand.
Lamanna's coaching staff includes the familiar face of assistant coach Bill DiPiero and adds on two new assistant coaches, Phil Murray and Shane Crump.
"Our program would like to be known as one that plays exceedingly hard," Lamanna said. "Developing a system is the biggest thing I'm bringing to the table [from Division I]–an offensive system and a defensive system that complement each other."
Fans will see "a new style of basketball representing our five pillars of humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness," he added. Those are the five pillars Lamanna plans on building the program around.
Returning to the Baron line up this year are six players that bring a full season of collegiate basketball to the court: junior guards Frank Murray—Franciscan's Defensive Player of the Year last season—and Dan Kroening, junior forward David Rainwater, senior forward Darnell Fisher, and sophomore guards John Trabbic and Peter Mooney. Also returning to the Baron lineup after a one-year hiatus is senior forward Andrew Kay.
"From Frank Murray, Dan Kroening and the rest of our returners, I'm looking for them to add experience and leadership to this team," said Lamanna.
Rainwater and Mooney are both studying abroad this semester, but will be returning after the winter break to play the majority of the season with their team.
The Barons add five freshmen to the team this season, including point guard Matthew Binder, guard Joe Spears, and forwards Nolan Albrect, Peter Amrein, and Caleb Knorr.
"We're looking for them to add energy and enthusiasm," Lamanna noted. "Last season, we graduated four major contributors, so our biggest challenge is going to be the overall game-inexperience of the players, coupled with learning a new system."
Out of the four graduated contributors, three were leading scorers: Thomas Kleinschnitz led not only his team but the entire Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in scoring with 20.8 points per game, and was second in team rebounding at 6.3 per game; three-year captain and four-year starter Connor Flanagan averaged 15.4 points and led the team with 6.4 rebounds per game; and Nate Stanton averaged 9.2 points per game.
When asked what his expectations were for the season, Coach Lamanna stated it simply, "For us to reach out team's full potential. What that means in terms of wins and losses is arbitrary, that's going to be determined by our ability to execute and play at a consistent level day in and day out. As a brand new program, our goal is to the best team we can possibly be."