Coming off a 15-11 record and returning to the Liberty League Tournament for the second straight season Clarkson men’s basketball coach Adam Stockwell decided to take on a new challenge: the Oswego State men’s basketball team.
Stockwell inherits a team that is made up of mainly underclassmen having only two key seniors and one junior. However, just like the freshmen, they will be learning a new game plan that Stockwell runs.
"The team we have this year is a great group of guys," Stockwell said. "It’s been a slow process as far as trying to learn a new system. I know it’s quite a change for everyone on the team and the coaching staff."
One thing for Stockwell that’s true, and goes back to his playing days at LeMoyne College, is his ability to lead a team. He knows what it takes to win and how important it is to have a good core of players around him. He is the Dolphins’ ninth all-time scorer with 1,458 points, sixth in steals with 144, second in 3-point field goal percentage at 42 percent and fourth in 3-point field goals made with 170.
"Well I was fortunate at LeMoyne," he said. "I came in from a small town, a class-D school of Watertown. LeMoyne, when I got there, we had a real talented team. You know it was the opportunity to play with two great seniors that were phenomenal leaders and we had a bunch of other guys that ended up with over 1,000 points scored. We had a pretty successful run of talent. With me coming from a small school, it was great just to see how hard the guys worked, how talented they were. I was fortunate as time went on to find myself more in that leadership position by the end of my career."
Given the economy and the fact that Oswego State is a state school helps Stockwell in the future with the ability to recruit. Also, his connections with the Syracuse area and the northern New York area should be able to help him land some top recruits that fit his system. He has been developing his Central New York roots immediately after graduating from LeMoyne in 1996. He accepted the head coaching job at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse for one season during 1998-99 before returning to coach college basketball. The experience has familiarized Stockwell with the area’s high school program and to plant roots for recruiting later in his career.
Before coaching at Clarkson, Stockwell worked as an assistant at Canisius College from 1999-2004 under head coach Michael MacDonald. Under Macdonald, he helped Canisiuis to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) finals in the 2000-01 season.
Stockwell’s leadership and consistency as a coach has helped him become successful. At Clarkson, he won 52 games in a five-year span. In 2007-08, he was named the Liberty League Coach of the Year as he led them to their first ever NCAA Division III Championship appearance. So it should come as no surprise that when the Lakers tip-off against the Clarkson Golden Knights on Dec. 1, 2009 at Oswego State, emotions will be high on both sides of the court.
"Well obviously that will be a tough game," Stockwell said. "I know a lot of the guys on the team and spent a lot of time with them. It’s our fourth home game of the year, so hopefully by then we will be ready to get a win for Oswego [State]. It’ll be a tough night emotionally for sure, but obviously we’re going to work hard and try and do everything we can to get the win."
His hopes are that the Clarkson win is just one of many for his first-year as Lakers coach. With the young team Stockwell has been handed and his leadership, though, it’s very possible for a good season. One of his goals is to be able to play and win the playoff games and at home which will help the program. With the good publicity it should help him landing some recruits come the end of the season.
"With the change in philosophy and the different way things are going to be run, we’re trying every day to get better and more comfortable with each other," Stockwell said.
With the potential of the team, it won’t be something they can’t shoot for. Unlike last year’s 16-11 record for the Lakers, Stockwell is hoping for more wins, but will take whatever is given to him.
"We’re going to try and be the best team we can be," Stockwell said. "We’re trying not to dwell on how many wins we get. We’re more concerned about getting better and being prepared each and every game for who we’re playing."