Nov. 13, 2008
Providence, R.I -
Brown's 103 season of intercollegiate basketball opens on Friday, November 14 against URI at the Ryan Center amidst optimism, a new head coach, a new style of play and an experienced squad that returns three starters and a slew of experienced players.
Three of Brown's four starters return to the lineup in 2008-2009: senior All-Ivy guard Chris Skrelja, sophomore forward Peter Sullivan, Brown's top returning scorer, and junior center Matt Mullery. In addition, senior Scott Friske started 15 games for last year's team and has 54 career starts for the Bears.
Brown and Rhode Island will play for the 152nd time in the series that began in 1906-1907. Rhode Island holds a 99-52 series advantage over the Bears and has won the last six games between the two teams, including a 75-61 decision last year at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Brown's last win over the Rams came in the 2001-2002 season when the Bears came away with a 91-76 victory at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Jesse Agel, an assistant coach at Brown for the last two years and a 17-year assistant coach at Vermont, will be making his head-coaching debut against URI on Friday. The 46-year-old Agel (pronounced A-gull) assisted coach Craig Robinson at Brown for the last two years, helping the Bears register a school-record 19 victories in 2007-2008, while gaining a berth in the post-season College Basketball Invitational. During his 17-year stint at Vermont, Agel was the architect of the Catamount's recent success on the basketball court. A 1984 graduate of Vermont, Agel was the associate head coach at Vermont for eight years under head coach Tom Brennan.
Brown posted a school record 19 wins last season (19-11), finished second in the Ivy league with an 11-3 mark, and earned a berth in the post-season College Basketball Invitational. Coach Craig Robinson left the team at the end of the season, accepting the head coaching position at Oregon State.