Husson Tabbed Preseason Favorite in 2016-17 NAC Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll

Husson University has been tabbed the favorite in the 2016-17 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, while Colby-Sawyer College was selected second with 76 points and Castleton University placed a close third with 72 points.

Johnson State College took fourth with 63 points, Green Mountain College placed fifth with 58 points, while Lyndon State College and Thomas College tied for sixth with 50 points each. Rounding out the poll were Maine Maritime Academy in eighth (35 points),  New England College in ninth (24 points), and the University of Maine at Farmington in tenth (22 points).

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

The top two teams in the 2016-17 poll competed for the NAC Championship title last season, with Husson earning a 94-77 win over Colby-Sawyer. After claiming their fifth NAC title in the last eight 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 No. 15 ranked Amherst College used a go-ahead three-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation to earn a 74-72 victory.

2016-17 NAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team

Points (1st place votes)

1.

Husson

100 (10)

2.

Colby-Sawyer

76

3.

Castleton

72

4.

Johnson State

63

5.

Green Mountain

58

T6.

Lyndon

50

T6.

Thomas

50

8.

Maine Maritime

35

9.

New England College

24

10.

UMaine-Farmington

22


All ten NAC men's basketball teams will kick off their quest for the 2016-17 conference title next week. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the NAC tournament, which gets underway Tuesday, February 21, 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 24. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC Championship on Saturday, February 25.

Click HERE to view the 2016-17 NAC Men's Basketball composite schedule.
Click HERE to view the 2016-17 NAC Men's Basketball conference only schedule. 

2016-17 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, 15-3 NAC)
 veteran head coach Warren Caruso enters his 23rd season at helm of the Eagles. His squad will work toward a return trip to the NAC Championship game to capture a second consecutive and sixth NAC title in his time with the Eagles. Husson will see the return of four top seniors Raheem Anderson (Miramar, Fla.; pictured right), Eli Itkin (Pawtucket, R.I.), Alonzo McCain (San Bernardino, Calif.), and Zach Curran (Washington, D.C.). Sophomore Justin Martin (Winslow, Maine) will look to make an early impact on the season defensively. Newcomers looking to contribute include forward Babafemi Onigbanjo (London, England), Justin Smith (Bangor, Maine) and Bruce St. Peter (Ellsworth, Maine). The Eagles will take on Bates, Saint Joseph's (Maine) and will travel to California in December to take on Chapman and Pomona-Pitzer to prepare for a tough conference schedule. 



 

 

2. Colby-Sawyer (19-8, 14-4 NAC) will be led by veteran coach Bill Foti. The Chargers reached the conference championship game for the second-straight season last year and will look to make a deep run in the NAC Tournament in 2016-17. Colby-Sawyer lost over 3,200 points from last year's graduating class, but return its third and fourth leading scorers in sophomore shooting guard Jourdain Bell (Manchester, N.H.) and junior point guard Taylor Grande (Bedford, N.H.; pictured right). Bell poured in 10.1 points per game, while Grande scored 9.0 per game and recorded 4.7 assists per game. Colby-Sawyer will play four of its first five games on the road before returning to New London for three straight home games to close out the first semester. 

 

  

 


3. Castleton (9-17, 8-10 NAC)
 look to rebound in 2016-17 after the team's first season under .500 in seven years. Paul Culpo enters his eighth season at the helm with an overall record of 110-85 at Castleton. The Spartans are led by junior Tondi Mushandu (Zimbabwe; pictured right), who averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, including 11.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in conference play. Pavin Parrish (Rochester, Vt.) is also back for Castleton after leading the team with 78 assists last season, while Chad Copeland (Plainfield, Vt.), who was averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game before suffering a season-ending injury last year, will return for a final season. The Spartans believe they have the talent to return to the top part of the conference standings. 

   

 


4. Johnson State (10-17, 9-9)
 will be led by second-year head coach Miles Smith. The Badgers return eight players from last year's squad that earned the third seed in the NAC Tournament and a trip to the Semifinals. Rasul Jackson (Philadelphia, Pa.; pictured right), Ben Holl (Philadelphia, Pa.), Demetrius Slade (Washington, D.C.), Donell Shaw (Washington, D.C.), Jordan Singleton (Palm Bay, Fla.), and Amari Moulton (Philadelphia, Pa.) will all be looked on to carry the load for Johnson State. Transfers Marqwon Wynn (Wilmington, Del.), Kawaun Chavis (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Jeyquan Johnson (Harlem, N.Y.) will also compete for minutes for the Badgers. Johnson State, looking to make a return to the postseason, will open the season by hosting UMaine-Presque Isle on November 15. 

  

 

5. Green Mountain (21-4, 16-2 NAC) will see first-year head coach Ben Davis take the helm of the Eagles' program for the 2016-17 season. Senior guard Thomas Brown (Charlottesville, Va.; pictured right) returns to lead the offense after posting 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season earning a spot on the NAC All-Conference Second Team. Senior Javier Lugris (Madrid, Spain) will be looked upon to increase production from the forward position after averaging 8.1 points and 4.3 boards per game last season. After last year's talented graduating class, several players will be asked to carry an increased work load, but the team remains focused to continue its success within the conference. 

 

 

 

T6. Lyndon (10-15, 8-10 NAC) head coach Chris Dorsey enters his third season at the helm of the Hornet squad. Senior Xavier Colbert (Manassas, Va.; pictured right) returns to lead the veteran team. Lyndon welcomes newcomers Charles Correa Jr. (Prospect Heights, R.I.), Darnay Gray (Mashantucket, Conn.), and Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, Mass.) into the mix for the 2016-17 season. The Hornets look to return to the NAC Tournament for the third-straight year under Dorsey's guidance. 

  
 

 


T6. Thomas (14-13, 9-9 NAC)
 will be guided by head coach Geoff Hensley, who enters his third season at the helm of the Terriers. Thomas will look to make a return trip to the NAC Tournament after competing in the NAC Semifinals a season ago. Key returning players for the Terriers are seniors Ian King (Westbrook, Maine) and Tyheem Simon (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) along with juniors Carlos Gonzalez (Kennebunk, Maine; pictured right) and Sam Smith (Naples, Maine). Last season, Simon was second on the Terriers in scoring with 15.4 points per game, while shooting 61.4% from the field. Gonzalez chipped in averaging 10.2 points per game along with 9.9 rebounds per game. With their returning players, the Terriers have added six freshmen to compliment a team looking to make another run in the NAC Tournament. 

 

  

 

 

8. Maine Maritime (5-20, 4-14 NAC) will be led by third-year head coach David Muchnick. The Mariners return all five of their top scorers from last season, including juniors Brendan Newcomb (Holden, Maine; pictured right) and Tyler Thayer (Hermon, Maine). Last season, Newcomb averaged a team-leading 16.2 points per game and Thayer averaged 15.4 points per game. The Mariners welcome a very talented recruiting class made up of five players from three different states and will look to improve on their conference mark from last season and advance into the NAC Tournament. 

 

   

 

 

9. New England College (7-18, 4-14 NAC) will look to make a run into the NAC Tournament this season. Head coach Charlie Mason enters his 15th season and will look to a talented core of first-year athletes to make an immediate impact. Returning for the Pilgrims will be sophomore guard Ricky Leonard (Windsor, Conn.; pictured right) who averaged 10.8 points per game and sophomore Frantzy Georges (Uniondale, N.Y.) who averaged 10.2 points and 6.0 rebounds a contest last season. 

 

 


10. UMaine-Farmington (3-22, 3-15 NAC)
 will be led by veteran head coach Dick Meader. The Beavers return two seniors, Ryan Camire (Sanford, Maine) and Ryan Rice (Belfast, Maine; pictured right), and one junior Eric Berry (Weld, Maine) from last season. The addition of a good group of freshman will make UMF more competitive this year. Riley Robinson (Dixfield, Maine), Amir Moss (Portland, Maine), Anthony Owens (Winthrop, Maine), Chase Malloy (Madison, Maine), Issac Witham (Skowhegan, Maine) and Billy Ruby (Gorham, Maine) will all play big roles in 2016-17. The outlook for this team is to return to the NAC Tournament.