2017-2018 Season Outlook: Suffield Academy Boys' Varsity Basketball graduated six college players from last year's 20-4 team that advanced to the NEPSAC Class A Finals: Bryce Butler (Susquehanna), Manny Chuckwu (University of Guelph). Griffin Kornaker (Middlebury), Matt Redhead (Franklin & Marshall), Tyreek Scott-Grayson (State Fair College), Garrett Stephenson (WPI). Although all of that experience and talent will be impossible to replace, new head coach Matthew Fava is confident in the strong group of six returners, four former JV players who are eager to contribute on varsity, and six new Suffield student-athletes.
The Suffield Academy boys' basketball program is one of the strongest prep school sports traditions in all of New England. On seven occasions (1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1992, 2013) the Tigers have brought home the New England Championship, and they have appeared in the finals in three out of the last ten years.
NEPSAC Class A conference play features over 20 teams fighting for eight playoff spots, and includes traditional powerhouses like Andover, Avon, Choate, Hotchkiss, Exeter, Loomis, and Williston, among many others. Additionally, the Tigers will play a number of highly regarded non-conference opponents such as Wilbraham, MacDuffie, St. Luke’s, Westminster, and more. This season the team will participate in the NERR Coaches vs Cancer Scholar Roundball Classic and the BasketBull Holiday Hoopfest.
Many Suffield basketball players have gone on to play at the collegiate level. Previous Tigers have continued to play at many elite academic institutions and successful athletic programs: Amherst, Babson, Bentley, Bucknell, Columbia, Connecticut College, Delaware, Emerson, Fairfield, Lafayette, Maine, Middlebury, Nevada, NC State, Providence, Rochester, Scranton, Skidmore, Springfield, St. Anslem, St. John's, St. Lawrence, Stetson, Stevenson, Stonehill, Wentworth, Wesleyan, Wheaton, Wofford, Wyoming, Xavier, Yale.
Vinny Del Negro '84 played 12 seasons in the NBA with five different teams. Del Negro later served as head coach for the Chicago Bulls from 2008 to 2010, leading them to the NBA playoffs in both of his seasons at the helm. From 2010 to 2013, Del Negro coached the Los Angeles Clippers, helping them improve their win total each season, setting a franchise record for single season wins in his final season, and guiding them to two playoff appearances.
2016-17 Record: 20-4 (NEPSAC Class A FINALS) 2015-16 Record: 19-7 (NEPSAC Class A Semifinals)
2014-15 Record: 17-8 (NEPSAC Class A FINALS)
2013-14 Record: 11-5 (NEPSAC Class B Quarterfinals)
2012-13 Record: 20-4 (NEPSAC Class B CHAMPIONS)
Suffield Basketball Tradition
The Suffield Academy boys’ basketball program is one of the strongest traditions in all of New England. On six occasions (1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1992), the Tigers have brought home the New England Championship. The Orange and Black have made runs in the New England Tournament each of the last two seasons. In 2009, the fourth seeded Tigers were knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the Western New England Tournament by a very talented Kent School team. The team finished 2009 with a 14-7 record. After a tough start to the 2009-10 season, which included two losses by two points or less, the Tigers reeled off 11 wins in their next 13 games, which included a trip to the Loomis-Chaffee Holiday Tournament finals, and going 8–1 in the month of January. The Orange and Black finished the regular season with a record of 15-8 (14-4 in the Western New England Conference), which was good enough to earn the Tigers the third seed in the Western New England Tournament. In the quarterfinal round, the Tigers hosted a very talented, sixth seed, Choate-Rosemary Hall team. On the day the Orange and Black knocked down 16 three-pointers en route to an 88-73 victory. The Tigers would get knocked out in the semifinal round by eventual champion, Kent School.
Suffield plays one of the toughest schedules in all of Class B, which includes. This season will be highlighted by games against Regional and National Powers, Cushing, Wilbraham-Monson, Loomis Chaffee, Choate, Deerfield, Salisbury, and Avon Old Farms. The Tigers will travel for two in season invitational’s. In early December, the Orange and Black will play in the Hoop Mountain Invitational at Marianapolis Prep, later in the month; they will participate in the Bob Southall Holiday Tournament at Loomis Chaffee. Each of these tournaments will feature some of the top Prep Programs and players in the Country.
Many Suffield basketball players have gone on to play at the collegiate level. Previous Tigers have gone on to play at Amherst, Babson, Bentley, Bucknell, Clark, Delaware, Gannon, Lafayette, Maine, Mercyhurst, Middlebury, North Carolina State, Providence, Rochester, Rhode Island College, Skidmore, Springfield, St. Anslem, St. Johns, Stetson, Stevenson, Stonehill, Wesleyan, Wheaton, Wofford, along with other colleges and universities.
Vinny Del Negro '84 played 12 seasons in the NBA with 5 different teams (Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Golden State, and Phoenix). In June of 2008, Del Negro was named the Head Coach for the Chicago Bulls, who he led to the NBA playoffs in each of his two seasons at the helm. This past summer, Del Negro was named Head Coach of the Los Angles Clippers.
Jeff Depelteau ‘02 enters his third season at the helm of the Tigers. Depelteau has led the Orange and Black to the Western New England Tournament in each of his first two seasons, posting a career record of 30-16 (.652).
As a high school player, Depelteau was a captain and leading scorer (19.3 ppg) of the 2001 Western Massachusetts Division II Championship South Hadley High School team. He then completed a post-graduate year at Suffield Academy where he was the second leading scorer on a team that won 12 games and narrowly missed the New England Tournament. Depelteau finished his high school career (South Hadley and Suffield) with over 1100 points. Before a career-ending knee injury, Depelteau played two seasons at Wheaton College (MA).
Depelteau has coached and lectured at such camps as Hoop Mountain Super Week I and II, Hoop Mountain Academic All-American, Five-Star, and Hoop Group Academic Elite.
Dave Godin has worked with the basketball program in each of his thirty years at Suffield. He began his career at Suffield serving as the junior varsity basketball coach, and as a varsity assistant for Dennis Kinne. Godin later was named head varsity coach and led the program to hundreds of wins over his 19 seasons as head coach, including a New England Championship in 1995. In 2008, Godin decided to hand over the reigns to Depelteau and has served as assistant coach since.
Coach Depelteau says of Godin, “Dave was one of the best coaches I have been lucky enough to play for, and now I feel just as lucky to have him by my side on the sidelines. He is passionate about the game of basketball, and he takes pride in working with all of the young men in the basketball program. He is a great mentor, not only to our players, but also to me.
Matthew joined the Suffield Academy community in the summer of 2017. In addition to his primary role as associate director of College Counseling, Matthew is also the head varsity boys’ basketball coach, co-coach of junior varsity boys’ tennis, and a dorm associate in Roe Dorm. While coaching men’s college basketball for the past eight years, Matthew spent one year (2016-2017) as the assistant coach and facilities assistant at Vassar College and served two years (2014-2016) as the coordinator of men’s basketball operations at College of the Holy Cross.
Matthew started his professional career as the assistant men’s basketball coach at Connecticut College for three years (2009-2012), and then spent two years (2012-2014) as the graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at Castleton University. Graduating from Connecticut College with a bachelor of arts degree in English (2009), he also earned his master of arts degree in Education from Castleton University (2014). Matthew lives on campus in Kulle House with his wife Lindsey and their dog Harper.
Sean was appointed as the associate director of admissions at Suffield Academy in June 2010, was named senior associate director in June 2013, and became the director of admissions in 2016. Prior to arriving at Suffield Academy, Sean spent seven years at The Boys’ Club of New York as the associate director of educational advancement. During his time at The Boys’ Club, Sean helped place over 300 young men in various independent schools. He also served as head of school for BCNY’s Gardiner School summer program. He is a graduate of the Darlington School and Bates College.
Sean lives in Rockwell Hall as a dorm head with his wife Yasmin and their children Sean Jr., Gavin, and Juliet. He also helps with the varsity basketball team.
A native of Chicopee, Massachusetts, Dave came to Suffield in 1980 after graduating from Springfield College. Dave taught math while also coaching football, basketball, and lacrosse, and serving as a dorm parent. He later held the positions of dean of students, assistant business manager, and director of athletics. Dave received the Elijah B. Andrews Award for service to Suffield in 1995.
In 2014, Dave received the Prevear-Kinne Prize for coaching in recognition of his commitment to the Suffield Academy athletic program. In addition to his duties in the mathematics department, Dave coaches football and boys’ lacrosse. Dave and his wife Hilary live on campus with their son Ben ’17.