The Siena Heights men's basketball team will open its season on Tuesday with a visit to Goshen (Ind.). The Saints are coming off a season in which they went 11-20 with a 7-15 record in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.
Head coach Joe Pechota will look to a solid core of returners -- along with an influx of hard-working newcomers -- to make a push up the conference standings.
Goodman ranked second on the team in points last year, averaging 11.3 per game. He also led the team with 125 assists (4.3 per game) and an .853 free-throw percentage (93 of 109), ranking third in the WHAC in both categories. He also rated second on the team with 39 steals (1.3), finishing ninth in the conference.
Martin was the WHAC's leading-shot blocker a year ago, finishing with 61 blocks -- an average of just under two per game. He had 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. His team-leading .502 field-goal percentage (117 of 233) was good enough for sixth in the WHAC.
Beckwith brings a veteran presence to the guard position. He averaged 6.9 points per game in 2014-15 and was second on the team in free throws at .843 (43 of 51).
"Fomby will be really good," Pechota said. "He will take a lot of heat off George (Goodman) at the point guard spot so we can slide George over to the '2' position.
"Winowiecki will be good as a freshman. He has versatility and skill to play as a '3' or '4.' We got a steal with Myles Copeland -- 6-foot-7, long and lanky. I love his skill and abilities. E.J. Finch has the ability to shoot it and Chris Pearl is a big, athletic player with a great skill set for a young guy.
"Our new guys are going to have some bumps in the road, but I like that they're competitors. They love to work and they're blue-collar guys, just like the old-school guys who come to town every Homecoming weekend."
"We have guys with more seasoning," the coach said. "They know what I want and what I expect. They don't care about minutes; they just want us to play at a high level and help put us in position to win games."
As Pechota enters his fourth season at SHU's helm, he is excited with the growth of his core group of upperclassmen.
"It's been a challenge to rebuild the program culture and, it's not going to be easier, but this year with the returning guys who have been there and done that in the system -- guys that know what we want and what we want to do -- I think it's really going to help us a ton.
"The chemistry of this group is really tight and the one thing we have with this group is a team ego rather than an individual-type ego. We have a group of guys who don't care who gets the credit -- just as long as things get done. That makes coaching a little easier."
The WHAC schedule promises to be brutal with three teams ranked in the NAIA Division II Preseason Top 25 -- all of which appeared in last year's national tournament. That group includes defending national champ Cornerstone, semifinalist Davenport and Northwestern Ohio. CU is No. 1, DU is No. 3 and UNOH is No. 17.
The Saints will begin the year against Goshen of the Crossroads League and Judson (Ill.) of the Chicagoland. SHU also has its calendar marked for a cross-town trip to Adrian on Nov. 24 and a southern trip to Miami, Fla, where it will take on another tournament participant from a year ago, Saint Thomas (Fla.).
"I love what I've seen through our first 29 practices," Pechota said. "Getting this group to buy in as quickly as they have and have them committed towards each other has been really fun to watch. We've got a long way to go and a long way to grow.
"The key thing is playing hard and competing every single day so we can get a nice product out there on Fred Smith Court so people can get out and watch some great Saints basketball."