November 14, 2017

Husson Men's Basketball Headlines 2017-18 NAC Coaches' Poll

Husson was tabbed the favorite in the 2017-18 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll. The defending champion Eagles were the unanimous choice after claiming all ten first-place votes for a total of 100 points.

Colby-Sawyer was selected second with 79 points, while Castleton and Thomas tied for third with 66 points apiece. Lyndon took fifth with 57 points, while UMaine-Farmington placed sixth with 55 points and New England College took seventh with 45 points. Rounding out the poll were Johnson in eighth (39 points), Green Mountain in ninth (27 points), and Maine Maritime in tenth (16 points).

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head men's basketball coaches.

2017-18 NAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team

Points (1st Place Votes)

1.

Husson

100 (10)

2.

Colby-Sawyer

79

T3.

Castleton

66

T3.

Thomas

66

5.

Lyndon

57

6.

UMaine-Farmington

55

7.

New England College

45

8.

Johnson

39

9.

Green Mountain

27

10.

Maine Maritime

16

The top six teams in the 2017-18 poll competed in the NAC Tournament last season, with Husson claiming the top seed, Castleton at No. 2, Thomas as No. 3, Lyndon at No. 4, UMaine-Farmington was No. 5, and Colby-Sawyer claimed the sixth seed. The seeds held in the quarterfinals, as the No. 4 Hornets earned an 88-66 win over the No. 5 Beavers and the No. 3 Terriers claimed a 77-71 victory over the No. 6 Chargers. Semifinal action saw Thomas upset the second-seeded Spartans, 71-57, while the No. 1 Eagles defeated Lyndon 98-84. Top-seeded Husson then recorded an 89-67 victory over Thomas to capture the NAC Championship Title.

After claiming their sixth NAC title in the last nine years, the Eagles went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the national tournament, Husson saw its season come to a close as the Eagles were defeated by the eventual 2017 NCAA Champions, Babson College, 92-76.

All ten NAC men's basketball teams will kick off their quest for the 2017-18 conference title this week. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the NAC tournament, which gets underway Tuesday, February 20, with quarterfinal action between seeds 3-6. The top two seeds will earn a bye in the first round and will take on the two quarterfinal winners in the semifinals on Friday, February 23. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC Championship on Saturday, February 24.

Click HERE to view the 2017-18 NAC Men's Basketball composite schedule.

2017-18 NAC Men's Basketball Previews

**For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the men's basketball section of each school's website.

 

 

1. Husson (21-7, 16-2 NAC) veteran head coach Warren Caruso enters his 24th season at helm of the Eagles. His squad will work toward a return trip to the NAC Championship game to capture a third-consecutive and seventh overall NAC title in his time with the Eagles. Husson will see the return of 2017 NAC Player of the Year and All-American senior guard Raheem Anderson (Miramar, Fla.; pictured right), 2017 NAC Defensive Player of the Year junior forward Justin Martin (Winslow, Maine), senior guard Mitch Worcester (Washburn, Maine), sophomore forward Justin Smith (Bangor, Maine), sophomore center Bruce St. Peter (Ellsworth, Maine) and sophomore guard Jake Black (Hampden, Maine). Newcomers looking to contribute include freshman guard Cole Thomas (Orlando, Fla.), freshman guard Corey Kaiser (Orlando, Fla.), freshman guard DJ Bussey (Peoria, Ariz.) and transfer junior guard Kyanti Blyden (Miramar, Fla.). The Eagles will take on Bates, Saint Joseph's (Maine), Colby, Bowdoin and will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in December to take on St. Mary's (Md.) and Simpson to prepare for a tough conference schedule. 

 


 

 

 

2. Colby-Sawyer (12-14, 9-9 NAC) will look to make a seventh-straight trip to the NAC Tournament in 2017-18. Bill Foti, the 2014-15 NAC Coach of the Year, enters his 26th season at the helm of a Chargers team that returns a core group of players from last year's team and eight newcomers. Colby-Sawyer returns four of its top-five scorers from a season ago led by junior Jourdain Bell (Manchester, N.H.; pictured right) who topped 20 points per game. Also returning for Colby-Sawyer is last year's NAC Rookie of the Year and All-NAC Second Team selection sophomore Dana Bean (Franklin, N.H.). Bean averaged 14 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season. The Chargers will open the season with a tournament hosted by the University of New England. Colby-Sawyer will play just two home games out of its nine games before the New Year. 

   

 

 


T3. Castleton (16-9, 11-7 NAC) comes into the 2017-18 campaign with 10 returning players and nine newcomers after finishing in a tie for second place in the NAC and reaching the NAC Tournament Semifinals last season. Paul Culpo, in his ninth season at the helm of the Spartans, will see Tondi Mushandu (Zimbabwe; pictured right) return as after averaging 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last year. Point guard Jordan Nelson (Troy, N.Y.) averaged 9.3 points. 3.0 assists, and 2.1 steals per game a season ago. Senior Pavin Parrish (Rochester, Vt.) will look to return to the form that garnered him NAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2014-15. For the fifth-straight year, Castleton opens the season against Skidmore, hosting the Thoroughbreds Wednesday, November 15. 

    

 

 

T3. Thomas (15-13, 11-7 NAC) enters the 2017-18 season under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Geoff Hensley. Hensley and the Terriers will look to build upon last year's experience in the NAC Championship final. The squad returns three of their top five scorers with senior center Carlos Gonzalez (Kennebunk, Maine), sophomore guard Zach MacKinnon (Kennebunk, Maine), and junior forward Willie Grant (Philadelphia, Pa.; pictured right). Along with the veteran core, Thomas adds 12 incoming freshman along with transfer John Morgan (Sanford, Maine) who was named YSCC Player of the Year a season ago. The Terriers will open their season with the annual Charlie Ryan Classic on Friday, November 17, as they host the University of Maine at Machias.


   

 

 

5. Lyndon (12-14, 10-8 NAC), will be guided by first-year mentor Dave Pasiak, who enters his 19th season as a collegiate head coach. The Hornets will be led by senior co-captains Alexis Ravelo (Lowell, Mass.) and Zach Knowlton (Franconia, N.H.) along with senior, Second Team All-NAC selection, Charles Correa Jr. (Prospect Heights, R.I.; pictured right), who averaged 15.0 ppg and tallied 78 three-point goals, and junior Darnay Gray (Mashantucket, Conn.), who averaged 9.9 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Promising freshmen Gerald Fleming (Riverview, Fla.) and Korey Steele (Jupiter, Fla.) will have an opportunity to contribute right away. Lyndon looks to grow as a team over the course of the season and peak at playoff time. The Hornets open their season at home against Fisher on November 15. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. UMaine-Farmington (11-15, 10-8 NAC) will be under the guidance of veteran head coach, Dick Meader. The Beavers will look to get back to the NAC Tournament with Riley Robinson (Dixfield, Maine; pictured right), who averaged 13.1 ppg last year, and Isaac Witham (Smithfield, Maine), who averaged 12 ppg, while Milani Hicks (Scarborough, Maine) adds a new aspect to the Beavers. The team looks to continue to get back into tournament contention and will open the season with WPI on November 17. 

 

   
 

 


7. New England College (11-14, 6-12 NAC)
will look to qualify for the NAC Tournament this year on the strength of six returners from last season's team under the guidance of veteran head coach Charlie Mason. Four of NEC's six returners were regular starters a season ago, including NAC All-Conference Second Team selection Izaiah Winston-Brooks (Roxbury, Mass.; pictured right). Winston-Brooks averaged a league eighth-best 16.8 points per game as a rookie. NEC also returns juniors Jason Jones (Roxbury, Mass.), who led the NAC in rebounding with 12 per game, and Ricky Leonard (Windsor, Conn.), who is the only three-year member of the team. In addition, the Pilgrims welcome 10 freshman to Henniker and will look for immediate contributions from them. The Pilgrims kick off the 2017-18 season on November 17 against Wentworth Institute of Technology at the Middlebury College Tip-Off Tournament. NAC play will open on December 2 at Castleton.   

 

  

 

 

 

8. Johnson (11-14, 8-10 NAC) will be led by third-year head coach Miles Smith Jr. Retuning top-scorer Marqwon Wynn (Wilmington, Del.; pictured right), along with seniors Rasul Jackson (Philadelphia, Pa.), Demetrius Slade (Washington, D.C.), Jeyquan Johnson (Harlem, N.Y.), Amari Moulton (Philadelphia, Pa.) and transfer Dawda Jallow (Allen, Texas) will all be looked on to carry the load for the Badgers. Johnson will look to improve its conference record from last season and advance to the NAC Tournament. The Badgers open their season at home on November 15 against the College of St. Joseph. 

 

 

    

 

 

9. Green Mountain (10-14, 7-10 NAC), led by second-year head coach Ben Davis, will look completely different in 2017-18 with just three players returning from last year's team and a bevy of new recruits in Davis' first full recruiting class. Senior leadership will be provided by Diante Warner (Albany, N.Y.; pictured right) who brings a tremendous amount of energy and speed at the guard spot. The Eagles will also benefit from the return of guard Matt D'Arcy (Melbourne, Australia) whose heady playmaking skills and craftiness will help set up the offense. The team will receive significant contributions from its strong incoming class of 14 new players; a good mix of talented JUCO transfers and freshmen. GMC, which finished just outside of the playoff picture in 2016-17, will set its sights on a return to post-season play this year. That goal starts with a road game at Paul Smith's College on November 15. 

  

 

 

10. Maine Maritime (5-20, 2-16 NAC) will be led by Dan McNeely, who enters his first season as the Mariners' head coach. The team returns their top-four point scorers from last season including senior Brendan Newcomb (Holden, Maine; pictured right). Last year, Newcomb led the NAC in three-point field goals made per game (3.12), and total three-point field goals made (78). The Mariners will look to advance to the NAC tournament and open up their 2017-18 season when they host Saint Joseph's College of Maine on Wednesday, November 15, at 7:30 pm.