Five former Batavia players on the court in college
For this area, if a high school basketball program has one or two players that move on to play the next level, it's a pretty remarkable achievement.
The Batavia boys basketball program makes one or two playing in college look like nothing, as five former Blue Devils are playing at the Division III level, with the best-of-the-best in the area.
Mike Chmielowiec is the elder statesman of the group and is starting his senior season at the University of Rochester tonight, with a game against Pitt-Bradford.
Kevin Saunders is a junior and playing at Fredonia State and Adam Brasky is a sophomore at King's College.
Mike Hoy and Bryan Anderson are freshman, Hoy playing at Geneseo and Anderson at Roberts Wesleyan.
Chmieloweic and Saunders both start.
"I've definitely learned a lot of different things as the years went on," said Saunders, who started 13 games as a freshman. "Being a junior I've played a lot and learned a lot of different things along the way. I've grown as a player overall."
Chmielowiec has had a tremendous career and is one of two seniors starting for UofR this season.
"I think there is a different element to (being a captain in college)," said Chmielowiec, a political science major. "Most kids on the team were captains or the man where they are from. It's a different responsibility. Now you have guys that were the best. It's almost a different kind of leadership role."
He played every game (including three starts) as a freshman, scoring 4.2 points per game, leading the team in 3-pointers with 14.
Chmielowiec was the MVP of the Chase Tournament as a sophomore and started all 26 games. He led the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game, also leading the team in rebounding with 3.5 per game. He had 48 assists, good for fourth on the squad.
He was third on the team in scoring last season at 12.4 per game, starting 19 games and missing some time due to injury.
Chmielowiec was recently featured on the UofR Web site.
After spending the summer living in Los Angeles and putting on over 10 pounds, he is ready for a big senior season. After that, he will either go into the workforce or play basketball overseas, where a former coach has some contacts that will be interested.
Saunders started 19 games and saw action in all 24 in his freshman season at Fredonia, finishing second on the team in 3-pointers (28) and assists (48).
He led the team in assists last year with 63 and started 13 games, playing in all 26.
Saunders is a captain for the Blue Devils this season, and his team is off to a 2-1 start. Fredonia is a team on the upswing and the hot start is big, especially with the 66-63 victory over Penn State-Behrend this week. The Blue Devils were down 18 points with six minutes to go and went on a tear at the end of the game.
"I don't know if we are a better team this year, but we are more experienced, said Saunders, a sports management major. "When I was a freshman and sophomore, we had young guys. I was seeing a lot of minutes as a freshman, so we were young. Now the core of our team is all juniors and seniors."
Adam Brasky - son of Batavia coach Buddy Brasky - played in all 19 games for King's College as a freshman, where he played 5.9 minutes per game, scoring 1.2 points per game with nine assists on the season. King's won a conference title last season.
He expect to have a big sophomore season, and has averaged 17.5 minutes per game in the first two contests of the year.
"There is a big difference for me from my freshman year," said Brasky, a history major. "The game doesn't feel as fast as last year. It has slowed down and I feel more comfortable now."
Brasky is playing a new style of basketball compared to Batavia's high-octane, man-to-man full-court pressure defense.
"We don't press much and aren't an up-tempo team," Brasky said. "We don't want them to get to the basket and offensively we set up plays and run motion. In high school the players aren't all this good. Here you run motion and use your basketball IQ to run plays, rather than run the court.
Hoy and Anderson are just getting their feet wet in the college game, but the two freshman are off to solid starts.
Anderson was a big signing for the Raiders and starts his college career off as the backup center.
Roberts is off to a 3-1 start and Anderson has played 18.3 minutes per game, scoring 8.8 points with 4.5 rebounds per game.
"I thought that as a freshman I would only get 2-3 minutes per game," said Anderson, who is a physical education major. "There were a couple problems and one of the big guys couldn't play, so it has helped me to get more playing time. It showed the coach that I can play at this level. Myself and another freshman are the big guys right now."
Hoy is mentioned as a sharpshooter in the Geneseo Web site preview, and he's already contributing after just one game.
He grabbed four rebounds and scored two points while playing 19 minutes in the opening game victory.
"I was a bit surprised," said Hoy, who has not declared a major yet. "It was more of a surprise in the scrimmages because I didn't expect to play this much. I got a lot of time and was like 'wow'".
Hoy - like all five former Batavia players - has found the transition to college basketball easy because of the guys he plays with.
"Playing basketball is fun for me," Hoy said. "I like all the guys on the team. It has made the transition easier. I've been really happy about that part."
With seven-straight Monroe County League Division III titles, the Batavia program has been one of the best in the area. And with five players contributing on Division III teams, it shows.