2015 Tryouts Coming Soon

header 19Tryouts for the 2015 Saratoga Sparks will once again be held at the Viniar Athletic Center on the campus of Union College. Tryouts will be conduct for 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams for the 2015 season. Players are expected to try out both days unless there are unavoidable conflicts. The dates for tryouts at each age level are listed below. We will be updating the starting times shortly.

Saturday January 31st, 2015
3rd & 4th graders (Times TBD)
5th & 6th graders (Times TBD)
7th & 8th graders (Times TBD)

Sunday February 1st, 2015
3rd & 4th graders (Times TBD)
5th & 6th graders (Times TBD)
7th & 8th graders (Times TBD)

Tryouts for high school aged players will be conducted the weekend of
March 7th & 8th. If you have any questions please contact us.

Molly Swan Take the Reins

New coaching staffs in place for Gloversville basketball programs
November 11, 2014
By JAMES A. ELLIS , Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - There has been a changing of the guard in the Gloversville High School basketball programs. With the retirement of Mark LeFever from the Dragons' boys program and Robyn Guzielek stepping aside as head coach in the girls program, new coaches have been appointed for the upcoming season.

Former Gloversville player and junior varsity coach Aric Kucel steps up to guide the Dragons' boys varsity team this season, while Molly Swan has been named the head coach for the Lady Dragons.

Not only are the varsity coaches new, none of the coaches at the junior varsity or freshman levels were with the programs last season.

"We are not rebuilding our boys basketball program, which has been a mainstay here in Gloversville for a long time," Gloversville High School Athletic Director Mike DeMagistris said. "The fortunate thing about Gloversville basketball is that we have had a Gloversville alumni coach our team for 28 years, so they know the tradition here. Mark LeFever [2009-2014] took the torch from Don Landrio [1986-2009], and hopefully, Aric is going to take the torch from Mark and keep running with it."
Kucel was a three-year starting point guard for the Landrio-coached Dragons and was a second team All Foothills player in his junior and senior years. He moved on to play for two years at Hudson Valley Community College, where he was named team MVP in his final season. He ranks third all time in assists and steals and seventh in 3-point field goals made for the Vikings. He joined the Gloversville coaching staff as a modified coach before moving up to coach the junior varsity team under LeFever for the past six years.

"I have been a Dragon basketball player since I was in second grade," Kucel said. "I felt like I basically grew up in the old high school gym because of all the time I spent there. I never missed one of Coach Landrio's winter clinics or summer camps, and I was always in the gym after school or during the summer constantly working on my game. I spent countless hours in the high school gym because I wanted to help this program be successful. Now I get to do it as a coach. It is truly an honor and a privilege."

Swan played basketball for Shenendehowa High School under hall of fame coach Ken Strube. After graduating from St. Lawrence University, Swan spent the last two years coaching in both the basketball and softball programs at Colonie High School.

"Sports have always been a big part of who I am," Swan said. "At Shenendehowa High School, I played both basketball and softball, which allowed me to develop lifelong friendships and leadership skills that have carried over to my adult life. Growing up, I was also involved in the Saratoga Sparks AAU program and enjoyed the time that I got to spend alongside my teammates as we continued to work on our basketball skills. Coaching has given me an opportunity to pass on to my players the many positives that I have gained through being involved in athletics: discipline, respect, teamwork and a sense of pride."
DeMagistris said he is confident Swan can help turn around the Lady Dragons' program that won the Foothills Council in 2007, but last won a varsity game in December of 2010.

"My impression after the first five minutes of talking with her was that she was the right person for the job," DeMagistris said. "We were fortunate enough that Molly was hired as one of our school's counselors. Her pedigree shows she played for some great coaches like coach Kucel did. Her father, Patrick, is helping us out this year and he coached the Saratoga Sparks for a long time."

Swan is joined on her coaching staff by first-year junior varsity coach Mary Insognia, while LeFever's retirement was short-lived as he joins the Lady Dragons' program as the girls' modified coach along with Jason Hillabrandt.

"LeFever went from the boys' program to the girls' modified program so she can tap into his experience of 20-plus years, which I think will be a benefit for our girls' program," DeMagistris said. "We are very confident that our girls' program will be very competitive in the next couple of years. Molly is very excited and passionate about the game and we are excited about having her on the staff."

Taking over a program that dropped from the varsity level in 2011 and playing two seasons at the junior varsity level before returning to varsity competition in 2013 is a challenge Swan said she is looking forward to.

"I think that the program has been slowly rebuilding and we are eager to be part of a growing program," she said. "The coaching staff [including myself] is excited by the talent we have seen in the open gym so far this year. I think that the youth program is on the upswing and the more girls that we can get involved at a younger age, the brighter the future looks for Gloversville basketball. We have had open gyms and the girls are excited for the season to begin. Tryouts begin today and the teams will be finalized by the end of the week. By Friday the girls will have a good understanding of our expectations as a program and their role heading into the season."

The boys' program also has a new coaching staff at all levels.

"We have an entire new coaching staff this year," Kucel said. "I'm very excited about the guys we have in place. These guys can really teach the game and have a passion for Gloversville basketball."

John Lott will take over the junior varsity coaching duties, while Blaine Nellis is the freshmen coach. Ryan Mulligan and Dan Getman will coach the modified programs.

"We also have two varsity assistants, Kevin Jones and Ed Collar," Kucel said. "John Lott, Ryan Mulligan and Dan Getman are all former Gloversville athletes, who understand the pride and tradition of Gloversville basketball. Blaine Nellis was a longtime JV coach at Fort Plain, where he had a lot of success coaching under Craig Phillips. Kevin Jones and Ed Collar are current college coaches at Fulton-Montgomery Community College Those two, to me, are the best coaches in the area and are going to do great things for our kids and our program."

Kucel is set to put his own stamp on the Dragons' basketball tradition.

"Our goals heading into this season and every season will be to play up to our standards," he said. "We have developed something called the Maroon and White Standards. These standards are how we practice, how we play and how we act. As a coach, I want my players to focus more on playing up to our standards, rather than worrying about results. If we play to our standards, we know the results will most likely be in our favor. The Maroon and White Standards are: Pride-Passion-Caring-Demanding-Confidence-Selfless-Relentless-Courage-Toughness-Willingness to Earn It."

Although tryouts officially started Monday, preparation for the upcoming season has been in the process with open gyms and clinics.

"We have been getting together since July and the turnouts were excellent," Kucel said. "We were getting 30-40 guys everyday from seventh grade to varsity who were coming in and working on developing their skills. We took a break as players were playing their fall sports. But this past week, we've been getting together after school for our Gloversville Basketball Orientation. It's been a great turnout and you can see our players get better as the week is progressing. It's been a nice way for all of our players to meet all of their coaches, work on their skills and for them to get a better understanding of what we are trying to accomplish on the offensive and defensive end."

The Dragons are scheduled to open their season at home on Dec. 4 with a non-league contest against Nortre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, and will open their Foothills Council campaign Dec. 12 at Johnstown.

"I'm just so excited to get going; I've been waiting a long time for this season," Kucel said. "I'm just very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a teacher and to be a coach in this program. Everyday I'm going to try to help our kids and program become successful."

The Lady Dragons open their season Dec. 5 with a non-league game at Mechanicville High School and will host the Johnstown Lady Bills in their Foothills Council opener Dec. 12.

It's Time to Shine!

The Ultimate Upstate College Showcase

Please do your best to arrive at 5:30pm. Saratoga Springs will be hopping Friday night because Dave Matthews is playing at the Saratoga Performing Art Center, so there may be a little more traffic in the downtown area then normal. Please make every effort to leave your house a little earlier then you might have planned. Taking Exit 15 off the Northway is your best bet to avoid possible traffic delays.

If for some crazy reason you can't make the event, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make appropriate changes to the program.

Other than that, we'll see you at 5:30pm at Skidmore College's Williamson Sports Center dressed and ready to play some ball.

If you have any questions please let us know.

Thoroughbred Classic Schedule Released

2014 Thoroughbred Classic Tournament Schedule
Attached, please find the schedule for the 2014 Thoroughbred Classic. The Saratoga Sparks organization has been working very hard over the last few weeks planning what we're sure will be a positive experience for you, your teams and your families. We are very proud of our efforts and look forward to providing you with a great weekend of basketball.

We did our very best to accommodate everyone’s special requests, and we believe we have addressed most of them. We considered travel times for teams traveling in from out of town, Proms, dinner and lunch reservations. We even have several brave coaches working the side lines for multiple teams.

Our game schedule is final, and updates will only be provided if we identify a mistake, or discover a way to make the schedule beneficial to everyone involved. Don’t count on this happening, we’ve done our best.

Please remember that this is a weekend event, take advantage of the time between games and visit downtown Saratoga Springs. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants just seconds away from each of our four venues. If your unhappy with anything, with the exception of officiating,  I can easily be found at the Druther's Brewing Company on Broadway. I’ll buy you a beer and we can discuss what ever it is that’s got you down. (This offer is not extended to Saratoga Sparks coaches, Players, Parents or Board Members)

If you have any questions during the tournament please locate one of our very experienced Site Coordinators. There will be several volunteers at every venue who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Thank you and please make sure you do your best to enjoy the weekend with your teams, your families and your friends. After all, that’s what it’s all about!


2014 Thoroughbred Classic Tournament Schedule

2014 Thoroughbred Classic Just Around the Corner

Thank you!!
2014 Thoroughbred Classic


I just wanted to send a quick note to each of you, thanking you for attending our upcoming tournament. The field has been finalized and the tournament schedule is being generated. This year we have 85 teams and we are once again looking forward to a great weekend of basketball. The final schedule will be emailed Monday, May 26th.

At this time, we have reached our limit of "scheduling request" and we have done our level best to accommodate everyones scheduling expectations. I'm afraid to say, if you didn't get your requests in prior to today, we're not going to be able to accommodate you. Also, we are still waiting on a few checks, I'll follow up with those teams in a separate email.
I'd also like to remind everyone about our Ultimate Upstate College Showcase taking place the Friday evening before the tournament. We have invited over 177 college coaches from all over the northeast to attend. Registration is only $45 per player. They will be guarantees three quick games and a Showcase jersey to take home.

Each player will be assigned a team for the evening and will play three games in front of as many college coaches as we can find. Our event is open to all high school aged players who are looking to play a little more basketball. Everyone is welcome regardless of AAU affiliations.

If you're team has players in Saratoga Friday night they should take advantage of the opportunity!

If you have players that may be interested in participating and have questions please contact Carlin DeMarinis at (518) 496-7328 or by email at coach.carlin23@gmail.com. 
Where: Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs New York 12866
When:  Friday Night May 30th, 2014
Time: Checkin Starts at 5:30, Games Start at 6:00pm
Player Registration: http://www.saratogasparks.org/Tourneys/Showcase/showcase.php

2015 Tryouts

Tryout Times and locations for high school aged players.

Once a Spark... Always a Spark...

Signup today for the 2014 Thoroughbred Classic. This event has sold out the last seven years and has drawn college coaches from all over Upstate New York.

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