Morrisville State Ranked First in 2018-19 NEAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Morrisville State Ranked First in 2018-19 NEAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – With three appearances in the league final and one conference crown in the last three years, Morrisville State enters the season as the No. 1 team in the 2018-19 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Men’s Basketball preseason poll.   

Morrisville State received nine first-place votes and 119 total points to earn the No. 1 ranking in this year’s poll. Head coach Joe Smith returns for his 10th season with high expectations from a junior class that includes NEAC All-Conference First Team Selection Kevin Dennis (Bronx, N.Y.). In the 2017-18 season, Dennis ranked second in the league in offensive rebounds (93), total rebounds (255) and rebounds per game (9.1). He also finished seventh in the NEAC with 449 points and ninth with 16.0 points per game. Junior Derek Beames (Otego, N.Y.) also returns after averaging 8.4 points per game while sophomore guard Tyrin Miller (White Plains, N.Y.) should also play a key role after scoring 12.0 points a game as a rookie. The Mustangs will also add some quality transfers to bring depth to a team that will play some tough non-conference matchups against Middlebury, Brockport and SUNY Geneseo.

After advancing to the NEAC Semifinals last year, SUNY Poly comes into the new season as the No. 2 team with 108 points. The Wildcats will be led by a solid group of seniors in Redell Freeman (Rochester, N.Y.), Peyton Griffiths (Milford, N.Y.) and Malik Johnson (Highland Falls, N.Y.). Freeman was named the 2018 NEAC All-Conference First Team after leading the league with 151 assists and ranking second with 483 points. Sophomore Josh Gregory (Whitesboro, N.Y.) is also expected to be an impact player after scoring 79 points in five games of a shortened 2017-18 season. SUNY Poly will look to improve last year’s 19-8 record with a schedule that includes non-conference games against Hamilton, Hobart and Wartburg.

Defending conference champion Lancaster Bible finished third in the coaches’ rankings with three first-place votes and 100 points. The Chargers will be a young group that includes eight freshmen after losing a bulk of their minutes from last season. Senior forward Quentin Davis (Philadelphia, Pa.) will lead the returners after averaging 11.1 points per game last season and earning a spot on the NEAC All-Conference Second Team. Senior Alex Whitt (Brevard, N.C.) and junior Luke Beers (Lancaster, Pa.) should also see significant time on the floor after both appeared in 29 games in 2017-18. First-year head coach Andrew Wingreen will use non-league games against Salisbury and Cabrini to prepare his squad for another run to the NEAC Tournament.

Penn State Abington begins the year ranked fourth with 86 points in the preseason poll. The Nittany Lions return a strong core that includes five double-digit scorers, four starters and the NEAC Rookie of the Year Devin Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.). Hill was Abington’s leading scorer with 362 points and 15.1 points per game. He also added 60 assists, 82 rebounds and 22 steals in his debut season. Senior Jordan Lomax (West Haven, Conn.) is also expected to play a key role for the Nittany Lions after averaging 11.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game last year. Head coach Jon Tanous booked a stronger slate of non-conference games against Misericordia, Arcadia and Lycoming in hopes of bringing his team together for a successful showing in league play.

Keuka College completes this year’s top five with 74 points. Head coach Thad Phillips is back for his ninth season with a group that includes senior guard Trevor Powell (Manassas, Va.) who averaged 11.1 points per game in 24 appearances. Sophomores David Oliveras (Great Mills, Md.) and James Barnes (Rochester, N.Y.) are also expected to lead the underclassmen after both appeared in more than 20 games last year. The Wolves will look to improve upon a 9-7 record in conference games last year, using non-conference games against Roanoke and Hilbert to get the group ready for NEAC action.

The full 2018-19 NEAC Men's Basketball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Morrisville State (9) 119
2. SUNY Poly 108
3. Lancaster Bible (3) 100
4. Penn State Abington 86
5. Keuka College 74
6. Wells College 60
7. Cazenovia College 57
8. Gallaudet University * 50
9. SUNY Cobleskill * 50
10. College of Saint Elizabeth 47
11. Penn State Berks 25
12. Penn College 16

*Tie broken by higher ordinal number points

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 (11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.). The 2018-19 NEAC men’s basketball season will begin Thursday, Nov. 8, with the full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.