The Ashland University men's basketball team was picked to win the GLIAC South in the preseason coaches' poll released by the conference office on Wednesday (Oct. 24) morning.
The Eagles, who finished 20-10 overall and 12-8 in league play last season, return a pair of All-GLIAC second team performers as they look to replace the program's second all-time leading scorer Wendell Davis, and another 1,000-point scorer in forward Marsalis Hamilton.
Senior guard Ben Haraway, who also has more than 1,000 points in his college career, and junior center Drew Noble are back after earning all-conference nods last season when the Eagles advanced to their third straight GLIAC Tournament semifinal. Both players were selected to the Preseason All-GLIAC South team.
Noble averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the floor, while Haraway scored 13 points per game, handed out 2.5 assists and shot 48 percent from the field.
The third AU starter returning is redshirt-sophomore wing Aaron Thompson, who excelled last season as a defensive stopper and improved his offensive game as the season went along. He shot 47 percent on the season and scored at least eight points in four of his last five games.
Head coach John Ellenwood, now in his 11th season, brought in a pair of transfers from Bowling Green State – junior guard Rodrick Caldwell and sophomore forward Derek Koch – to solidify the rotation. Koch is Ohio's all-time high school leading rebounder and averaged seven points and five rebounds per game as a starter for the Falcons last season. Caldwell averaged nine points per game and led BGSU with 82 assists.
The Eagles will also see the debut of redshirt-freshman wing Ryan Batte, who served as Davis' understudy last season as he grew into the college game. Senior forward Phil Frentsos is also back after averaging four points and three rebounds in 20 minutes per game last year.
The Eagles finished a game behind Wayne State in the GLIAC South last season and went into the GLIAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed. They overcame a 22-point deficit in the second half of their quarterfinal win over Northern Michigan, but fell to eventual national champion Ferris State in the semifinal round.
The Bulldogs, who were 38-1 last season, were chosen as the GLIAC North favorites.
The Eagles open the season Nov. 9 at Lake Erie with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. The home opener will be Nov. 11 against Ohio Dominican.
The full GLIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll follows.
|GLIAC South (First-place votes)||Points|
|1. Ashland (10)||60|
|2. Grand Valley State (2)||51|
|4. Saginaw Valley State||27|
|4. Wayne State||27|
|GLIAC North (First-place votes)||Points|
|1. Ferris State (9)||58|
|2. Northern Michigan (3)||47|
|3. Michigan Tech||43|
|4. Lake Superior State||34|
|6. Purdue Northwest||11|