Anyone catch Mike Muscala’s first few games of the NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks? We have to admit, five-plus years ago there was not much interest in the Hawks up here in Lewisburg, but now, Hawks’ games are appointment viewing. And their excellent Twitter feed is a must-follow.
The Hawks have played three regular-season games so far. They are 3-0, and “Moose” has been the first frontcourt sub off the bench in each game. His stats are terrific, averaging 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while playing 22.3 minutes per game. He is also shooting a robust 66.7% from the field (12-18) and 80.0 percent (8-10) from the foul line.
When Mike was on campus in September for the Second Annual Celebration of Bison Basketball Dinner, he was just getting ready to head to preseason training camp after a grueling summer spent continuing to get stronger physically while also refining his jump shot. At the time, the Hawks had more players on the roster than spots available, so cuts were looming. But Mike was very impressive in the preseason, and now many folks are considering him the most improved player in the organization. He’s off to a great start, and the Hawks’ Keystone State fan club will be watching!
Mike Muscala is not the only Bucknell alum who has been busy this fall. Throughout the year Bucky’s Blog will keep you posted on various alumni happenings. Feel free to submit news through the comments section at the end of the story.
Two prominent Bucknell men’s basketball alums were featured panelists at the 2016 Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation College Basketball Tip-Off Event last month in Baltimore. ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt moderated the panel, which featured Bucknell Hall-of-Famer Pat Flannery ’80 and Villanova head coach Jay Wright ’83, who is fresh off his national championship run with the Wildcats. Other panelists included current and former Maryland coaches Mark Turgeon and Gary Williams, and Georgetown coach John Thompson III.
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. hosted the event, which also served as a fundraiser for the foundation, which supports at-risk youth across the United States. The Ripken Foundation aims to build character and teach critical life lessons to at-risk young people living in America’s most distressed communities through sports-themed programs.
The Bucknell baseball program has been involved in Ripken Foundation youth clinics, most recently last month.
Thank you @CalRipkenSrFdn for allowing us to be part of your organization and help make a positive impact on your foundation’s youth!
— Bucknell Baseball (@Bucknell_BB) October 21, 2016
Some other Bucknell alumni news:
- We can’t mention Mike Muscala ’13 without a note on Charles Lee ’06. Charles is back for his third season as an assistant coach with the Hawks.
- Three other former Bison hoopsters are in the professional ranks. Former women’s basketball standout Claire Maree O’Bryan ’16 played this summer for the Sunshine Coast Rip, who were in the QBL Premier League for the first time this year. C-MO was the team’s leading scorer at 15.4 points per game, despite joining the team midway through their season after graduating from Bucknell.
- Another 2016 graduate, Chris Hass from the men’s squad, is in the Northern Hemisphere and just getting started with Phoenix Hagen in Germany’s top division. The team is off to a slow start at 0-7, but Chris is playing well, averaging 11.1 points per game while shooting 40.0% from 3-point range. He has recently joined the starting lineup and has a pair of 21-point games thus far.
- Brian Fitzpatrick ’14 is continuing his globe-trotting this season with Levanga Hakkaido Sapporo in the Japanese B League. Fitzy is averaging 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in eight games with the club. He previously played in Greece and Denmark, and was named Finals MVP after leading Horsens IC to the 2015 Danish Cup title.
- Turning our attention to the soccer pitch, former Bison goalkeeper Mike Lansing ’16 made his first pro start last week for Vejle Boldklub in Denmark, and he recorded a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over HB Køge.
- Your geography assignment of the day is to locate the Faroe Islands on a map (hint: look closely in the North Sea, about halfway between Iceland and Norway). That’s where former Bison fullback Mayowa Alli ’14 is starring these days. A year ago the BBC did a fascinating piece on soccer in the Faroes, and Mayowa was featured in the article. His current team, KÍ Klaksvík, plays in the Faroe Islands Premier League and has qualified for the Europa League tournament. Last week the team finished its season 19-5-3 and in second place, just one point off the lead.
- Conor O’Brien ’10, like Mayowa Alli a former Bison All-American, is back in Denmark’s SuperLiga this year with AC Horsens. Hard to believe Conor is already 28 and a seven-year veteran of European Soccer. His Horsens side is 5-4-6 and in seventh place out of 14 teams.
- Bucknell’s Patriot League regular-season champion women’s soccer team is also represented in Europe. Evelyn Nicinski ’15 is in her second season playing professionally in Germany. Last year she suited up for FC Lübars, and this season she was loaned to Hohen Neuendorf. Evelyn, who has bounced back nicely after an ACL injury prematurely ended her senior year at Bucknell, already has two goals in six matches this season. Evelyn has Polish citizenship, and she has been capped 18 times by the Polish National Team, even dating back to her Bucknell days, where on two occasions she left the team for brief periods to compete for Poland in Europe.
- ICYMI this summer, Jackson Place ’14 had a great year for the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse. Jackson was an MLL All-Star for the first time, and he earned an MLL Defensive Player of the Week honor. He also helped lead the Machine all the way to the MLL title game, where they lost a 19-18 heartbreaker to the Denver Outlaws (who were coached by B.J. O’Hara, father of current Bison attackman Connor O’Hara).
- Congrats to former Bison golf standout Ben Pellicani ’06, who was recently named to Golf Digest’s annual list of “Best Young Teachers in America.” Ben is currently the associate head coach of the men’s golf team at Lipscomb, whose nickname is the Bisons — but we’ll forgive him if he gets confused and drops the “s”. Ben also owns his own golf instruction system, Pelli Golf, for which he was cited by Golf Digest. By the way, Ben’s 65 at the 2005 Patriot League Championship is still the school record.
- Ben’s former teammate, Charlie Waddell ’06, played in the U.S. Amateur back in August at Oakland Hills Country Club. He played well, but his pair of 72s left him two shots out of a playoff to advance to match play. Charlie turned pro right after graduating from Bucknell, but he has regained his amateur status and is still competing at a very high level.