Campus Conversations: men’s basketball team

Campus Conversations: men’s basketball team

Caden Hinckley, ’23, Allegheny’s four-year starting center. On Jan. 11, Hinckley earned a career-high 19 rebounds versus Westminster.

Caden Hinckley, ’23 (Ed Mailliard)


Kyle Chandler: Coaches always talk about senior leadership and its importance to a program. You have had to fill that type of role since your freshman year. How have you been able to handle and grow in that role?
Caden Hinckley: The group of guys are really close together, so there is not really any leading that I have to do. We’re all going towards the common goal of winning the PAC. The team gets on board and follows the coaches really well, so it makes it easy. We also have players like Holden Phillips, ’24, who does a great job of getting everyone prepared for the games. He’s another great leader on the team.

KC: What goes into being able to average a double-double for now the second season in a row?
CH: A lot of work, and a lot of trust from my teammates that I’m not going to get a bad pass running down the floor. Or, when I go up for a rebound that they’re going to box out their own guys so they don’t come from behind and poke it out.

KC: You are one of the taller players in the conference and the tallest player on the Gators roster. How are you able to use your size and your frame to your advantage?
CH: That’s how I do most of my scoring. I use my length and my size to score over players. I just use it to elevate and score.

KC: From behind the arc the last few games you have also been able to nail some three-pointers. Is that something you are looking to incorporate into your arsenal more?
CH: Yeah, me and Coach (Greg) Bean and Coach (Zach) Zoll, ’20, have been working on my shot. It can really only go up, as it’s been quite terrible, but hopefully I can continue to make some and that percentage will keep going up.

KC: You always find ways to keep yourself in the conversation for conference player of the week. This week, you were able to earn that achievement. What does that mean to you?
CH: It is a great accomplishment to get it. I have to thank the guys though, because I don’t get it if we don’t win and play well. They get me into good spots to throw me the ball, so it’s really a team effort. Whenever I win (an award like player of the week), I view it as the team won. We won both games, and played really well.

KC: You are into your senior season with only eight guaranteed games to go. Do you have any plans for after basketball?
CH: I’m looking for a job. Hopefully I’ll get one, and maybe play overseas if anyone wants me.

Andre Wilder, ’24, is in his first full season as a starter this year. Wilder is near the top of every statistical category for the Gators.

Andre Wilder, ’24 (Ed Mailliard)


Kyle Chandler: You are into your junior year now, but it is really only your second season on the court, given the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you feel you have developed as a player during your tenure?
Andre Wilder: It’s been really fun. During my freshman year we had a lot of really good leaders. We didn’t play that many games, but it was really valuable having those guys around in practice day in and day out. They sprinkle a lot of information onto me that now I’ll be able to pass down on people like Ryan (Lang, ’26) and Isaiah Portis, ’26. Last year, I had a lot of insights from Caden on how to get open and the effects of the pick and roll. Having leadership like that has really helped me elevate quickly.

KC: Does it feel weird to call yourself an upperclassman?
AW: Definitely, it’s super weird. Super weird. I feel like yesterday I was just a sophomore.

KC: You started seeing significant playing time last year in the second half of the season. Now, you have started all 17 games for the Gators this season. How are you able to consistently get better and earn that playing time?
AW: Just staying humble at the end of the day. In practice, just giving it everything I got. Just staying true to who I am as a basketball player, and letting the game talk for itself. I just try to stay on path and stay on track.

KC: You have grown to be quite the scorer this season, already amassing six games with 20 or more points. What has led to you consistently putting the ball in the net?
AW: With the help of our guards. Our assist numbers are through the roof, and everyone is looking for each other. Without the help of our guards, those 20 point games wouldn’t be possible.

KC: What is your mindset on the court?
AW: Before the games, Coach (Bob) Simmons would walk up to Hinckley and would give him a quote he would say in practice like, “it’s just pick up.” That is the type of stuff we talk about. It’s been very important to all of us keeping a level head, and just playing a regular game like it shouldn’t be anything too serious.

Ryan Lang, ’26, a freshman point guard. After the first four contests, he was named a regular starter, and shoots it 49% from behind the arc.

Ryan Lang, ’26 (Ed Mailliard)


Kyle Chandler: You are only a freshman, and you have stepped up big for the program this year. How have you been able to handle such a big responsibility so early in your career?
Ryan Lang: I got great leaders in front of me. Guys that have been through this, and that have taught me how to develop into a player that can play on the court for us. I have learned a lot since I got here, (including) different ways to score. I really just give it to our upperclassmen for getting me ready, and getting all of our younger guys ready.

KC: Brian Roberts Jr., ’22, was noted by many as one of the best point guards to ever play for Allegheny. Comparatively, you have very similar freshman year numbers. Do you think you will be able to live up to that expectation and be the next star for the Gators?
RL: I hope so. It’s a big name to live up to, but we play similarly. It’ll be hard, but that’s my goal, to live up to what he left behind and add on.

KC: Why did you choose Allegheny?
RL: I fell in love with the coaching staff, loved the campus and when I met the guys for the first time we just clicked. It was easy. It felt like home to me. I talked to my parents a lot and some other people I trusted. They were all on board and I felt it was the best fit for me.

KC: Now that you are here, how has your experience been since arriving on campus?
RL: It’s great, I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. I’m having fun playing basketball, I’m having fun on and off the court, learning a lot, and it’s been a great experience so far.

KC: What do you hope to accomplish throughout your years in a blue and gold uniform?
RL: Win a couple PAC Championships, or maybe an NCAA Championship. We have a lot of goals, and I just hope we get to reach them.