Defending Conference Champion Morrisville State College Picked First in 2017-18 NEAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Defending Conference Champion Morrisville State College Picked First in 2017-18 NEAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – As the defending conference champion, Morrisville State College has been picked to repeat its success in the upcoming season as the top-ranked team in the 2017-18 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men’s basketball preseason poll.   

The Mustangs received 12 first-place votes and a total of 165 points to earn the top spot in this season’s poll. After posting a 22-7 record in 2016-17, Morrisville State College will be in search of its fifth tournament championship. Reigning NEAC Rookie of the Year Kevin Dennis (Bronx, N.Y.) returns after ranking fourth in the league with 510 points in his first season. The Mustangs will also turn to NEAC All-Conference Second Team selection Trent Ward (Auburn, N.Y.) for senior leadership after he put up 14.7 points per game in 2016-17. Freshman guard Jared D’Aloia (Stillwater, N.Y.) is one of three newcomers expected to make an impact after averaging 26 points per game his senior year of high school and amassing 1,000 career points. Outside of the NEAC, the Mustangs and head coach Joseph Smith are expected to face tough competition with non-conference games against Middlebury College and SUNY Geneseo.

With 147 points, Lancaster Bible ranks second in the preseason poll. The Chargers return three starters from a team that made a run to the 2017 NEAC Men’s Basketball Finals. Senior Herbie Brown (Wilmington, Del.) will lead Lancaster Bible after averaging 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season to earn NEAC All-Conference First Team honors. Forwards Austin Brown (Damascus, Md.) and Quentin Davis (Philadelphia, Pa.) will also be expected to play key roles for the Chargers in 2017-18. With the crop of newcomers including size and some stability at the point guard position, Lancaster Bible will test their abilities in non-conference tournaments that provide potential matchups with Franklin & Marshall and St. John Fisher. 

SUNY Poly follows closely in third with a total of 146 points after finishing last season with a 19-7 overall record. Despite the loss of a couple impact players, NEAC All-Conference honoree Kevin Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.) returns to lead the Wildcats after putting up 16.5 points per game in 2016-17. Head Coach Rob Schoener expects his squad to show more aggressive defensive play while possessing a variety of scoring options. In addition to their conference schedule, the Wildcats will look for success against non-league opponents such as Hamilton, Hobart and Utica.

Wells College received one first-place vote and totaled 134 points to finish fourth in the coaches’ poll. Head Coach Joe Wojtylko enters his 12th season with a number of players taking on new roles after losing some key offensive pieces. The Express will lean on NEAC Player of the Year Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) to lead the offense after a stellar sophomore campaign. In 2016-17, Ross led the NEAC with 81 three-point field goals and ranked second with 564 points.

Gallaudet University closes out the top five with 127 points. The Bison, who received the final first-place vote, are coming off the best season in program history. In 2016-17, head coach Kevin Kovacs led his team to a 20-6 overall mark and the NEAC Regular Season Title. The Bison return two NEAC All-Conference players in Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) and Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) to help lead a team that will be challenged in non-conference games against the likes of Whitman College and George Fox early in the year. 

The full 2017-18 men’s basketball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Morrisville State College (12) 165
2. Lancaster Bible 147
3. SUNY Poly 146
4. Wells College (1) 134
5. Gallaudet University (1) 127
6. Cazenovia College 105
7. Penn State Abington 86
8. Bryn Athyn College 66
9. Keuka College 61
10. College of Saint Elizabeth 59
11. Wilson College 58
12. SUNY Cobleskill 49
13. Penn College 38
14. Penn State Berks 33

 

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC men’s basketball coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (13 points for a first-place vote, 12 points for second, etc.). The 2017-18 NEAC men’s basketball season will begin tonight, Nov. 15, with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.