The Ashland University men's basketball team was picked to finish second in the GLIAC South in the preseason coaches' poll, and senior center Drew Noble was tabbed as the GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year by league's coaches.
The Eagles are coming off their second NCAA Tournament appearance in four years and a second-place showing in the GLIAC South standings a season ago. They are entering their 11th season under head coach John Ellenwood.
Noble comes back as one of the most experienced, versatile and tough players in the league. The 6-foot-8 Louisville, Ohio native ranked fifth in the GLIAC in scoring last season at 17.2 points per game, while grabbing 6.4 rebounds and shooting 51 percent from the field. He also connected at the line at an 81 percent clip, and has developed an outside touch, hitting 45 3-poiners in the last two seasons.
Noble was an All-GLIAC first team selection last season and was named to the NABC All-Midwest District first team as one of the top six players in the region. He was an All-GLIAC second team and GLIAC All-Defensive team choice as a sophomore.
He is one of four returning starters for the Eagles, who have won at least 19 games in each of the last five seasons and has consistently posted one of the top defenses in the nation. Last season, the Eagles were fourth in scoring defense, giving up just 63 points per game.
Redshirt-junior wing Aaron Thompson was named to the All-GLIAC second team and GLIAC All-Defensive team last season after leading the league in rebounding (9.4 per game). He finished the season with 12 double-doubles and averaged 10.8 points per game.
Senior guard Rodrick Caldwell returns as the Eagles' top 3-point threat from a season ago, hitting 55 triples at a 35 percent clip. He was the team's second-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game. Junior forward Derek Koch made 23 starts last season and averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
The Eagles also have a young core of depth to complement the four returning starters, including sophomore guard Dylan Beaugard, who carried a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in 8.5 minutes per game last season.
In the rest of the GLIAC poll, Davenport is picked to repeat as GLIAC South champion while Ferris State narrowly edged out Parkside as the choice to win the GLIAC North.
The full GLIAC preseason coaches' poll and preseason all-conference teams follow.
|GLIAC South (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Davenport (11)||61|
|2. Ashland (1)||50|
|3. Grand Valley State||39|
|5. Saginaw Valley||24|
|6. Wayne State||16|
|GLIAC North (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Ferris State (6)||55|
|2. Parkside (5)||51|
|3. Michigan Tech (1)||45|
|4. Lake Superior State||33|
|5. Northern Michigan||25|
|6. Purdue Northwest||17|
GLIAC Preseason All-GLIAC South
Drew Noble - Ashland (Player of the Year)
Avery Hunt - Davenport
Jake Van Tubbergen - Grand Valley State
Myles Belyeu - Saginaw Valley
Ja'Kavien Lewis - Northwood
GLIAC Preseason All-GLIAC North
Kyle Monroe - Michigan Tech
Cole Walker - Ferris State
Myles Howard - Ferris State
Dawson Bilski - Michigan Tech
Ke'Montrece Collins - Lake Superior State