Captain ready for year of high expectations

"In the paint. With a mid-range jumper. From the behind the arc. With his passing ability. At the defensive end, on the boards or with pure athleticism.

"Those are all the ways that Chad Burridge can beat you.

"Burridge, now a junior, will be counted on to provide all of that for the Oswego State men’s basketball team as it gets set to begin the 2010-2011 season.

""He really doesn’t have a weakness in his game," says Oswego State coach Adam Stockwell.

"Expectations are high for the 6-foot-7-inch Hannibal, N.Y., native. He’s coming off an already impressive sophomore season in which he led the Lakers in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.8). He ranked in the top five of four different league statistical categories in the SUNYAC conference and was named to the All-Conference Second Team.

""Well we always plan for him but he seems like he gets his numbers anyway," says Vince Medici, head men’s basketball coach at Oneonta State. Oneonta is coming off a season that saw them advance to the NCAA tournament.

"The consensus is that what makes Burridge so good is his balanced repertoire. His quickness allows him to take players of similar size off the dribble, and his perimeter game allows him to shoot over smaller defenders. And then there is the size and jumping ability, which allow him to be in position for rebounds.

"Defensively, Burridge always seems to find himself in the right spot. After just two seasons, he already ranks second in program history in blocked shots.

""He’s multi-talented. He’s a matchup problem most nights on the court," says Stockwell

""He becomes hard to defend because of his ability to play inside and out so well. As a coach you must make a decision on who to cover him with, a big or a guard? Whatever way you decide he beats you," Medici says.

"Even though opposing teams key on Burridge, the modest Lakers star would rather talk about the team’s success as Oswego State looks to improve upon last year’s 13-13 overall record. Oswego advanced to the SUNYAC tournament as the number seven seed before falling to Oneonta in the quarterfinals.

""I know teams know who I am," he says. Burridge is quick to add that if teams focus on him, he is more than happy to give up the spotlight to one of his teammates.

""I’d be fine scoring four points," he says.

"Burridge says this team, with 10 players returning, and in the second year of Stockwell’s system, has a better chance of competing for a top spot in the conference than his previous Laker teams.

""We have high expectations of ourselves," says Stockwell. "We’re doing it together, we have great team chemistry…We’re very excited about this season."

"And you can bet Burridge will be a big part of the Lakers hopeful resurgence. According to both Stockwell and Medici, he is among the best players in the conference.

""He’s got a real chance to be player of the year," says Stockwell.

""In my perspective, he’s the best player in the league. The sky’s the limit for him," says Lakers senior forward Jose Uribe.

"Despite gaudy numbers and lofty praise, Burridge knows he can still get better. Although he shot over 45 percent from the field last season, he only managed 65 percent from the free throw line and 34 percent from the three-point line.

"Stockwell would like to see him increase his numbers by being more efficient and increasing his field-goal percentage. Burridge says he would like to improve his smartness on the court and be able to remain focused even if his shots aren’t falling on a given night.

"Although he says he is shooting to be first-team all conference this year and that it makes him feel good to know that others are aware of his ability, Burridge adds: "Personal accolades are at the end…they’re an added bonus."

"But Burridge is no stranger to personal accolades. At Hannibal High School, he was named Player of the Year in the Liberty Conference as a senior, along with second-team All-State.

"Tyler Baker, a sophomore member of the Oswego State baseball team, was Burridge’s teammate for five years at Hannibal.

""He is the type of player who will lead your team both on and off the court. He is the type of player that you want to have the ball when the game is on the line. Chad will do whatever it takes to win a game. Chad is who a lot of teams in the conference need and want," Baker says.

"And the Lakers will need all of that in 2010-2011.