By. Joey Lafranca, Sports Editor @ The Press Republican
There’s a new name leading the Clinton men’s basketball team.
Matt Luneau enters into his first season as head coach of the Cougars and is excited for the season to get underway.
Luneau took over for longtime coach and current Clinton Athletic Director Kevin Daugherty, who spent 14 years as the Cougars’ coach.
“It’s been very good to this point,” Luneau said. “The biggest thing I see is that the guys are young, but they seem to be very coachable and respond very well to any type of challenge.”
Luneau has nearly 30 years of coaching experience and, most notably, spent nine years on the Syracuse women’s basketball coaching staff, serving as an associate head coach for Keith Cieplicki and continuing to fill the same role when Quentin Hillsman took over head-coaching duties at the beginning of the 2006-2007 campaign.
Luneau spent the 2017-2018 season as an assistant to Daugherty, where he began to establish an appreciation for the Clinton program.
“Kevin has totally put me in the driver’s seat of this team, but I have asked him here or there for little pieces of advice,” Luneau said. “He’s definitely been a big help in my first year.”
Now at the helm, Luneau has an 11-man team he will look to lead.
There’s a couple local names on the Cougars’ roster, which includes Lucas Aube, Justin Currie, Chris Duesbury, Reed Lashway, Ashani Nelson, JaQuan Pinkney, Bailey Pombrio, Rijkaard Jean Baptiste, Treyvron Wood, Shane Husler and Jafar Yahuza.
In terms of identity, Luneau wants Clinton to play hard-nosed defense and share the basketball.
“We are pretty good when we get out in transition and make the easy pass for the easy bucket,” Luneau said. “With good defense, that will hopefully lead to more easy scores.
“That’s why it’s so important that we play good defense.”
The Cougars opened the 2019-2020 campaign with an 83-51 loss to Herkimer.