MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the New England Collegiate Conference. The Blazers will look to returners David Lopez, Justin Feliciano (Springfield, MA) and DJ Edlen (Prince George, VA) to lead the way. "We are looking to build and keep growing" said Coach Southall of the 2019 season.
New England College has nabbed the top spot in the 2019-20 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Preseason Coaches Poll, tallying 35 points and five first-place votes. The Pilgrims, led by the 2018-19 NECC Coach of the Year, Charlie Mason, return two NECC major award winners from last season, Calvin Cheek (Mattapan, Mass.) and Jamal Allen (Dorchester, Mass.). Cheek, the 2018-19 NECC Defensive Player of the Year, was the leader of a New England College defense that held conference opponents to 72.5 points per game. Cheek was masterful on the defensive end, leading the league with 4.8 steals per game, which was also tops in NCAA Division III. Allen was named the NECC Rookie of the Year, averaging 15.3 points per game in his rookie campaign.
Eastern Nazarene College and the defending NECC Champions Mitchell College share the second spot with 28 points and one first place vote a piece. Eastern Nazarene is led by an experienced head coach in Scott Polsgrove, and will return all five starters from a season ago. Seniors Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) and Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) were both second team All-NECC performers last season. Crandell led the Lions with 15.4 points per game, while Rice chipped in 14.6 points per game.
Mitchell College head coach Todd Peretz will be back on the sidelines, and will look to second team All-NECC performer Hasani Williams (Miramar, Fla.) to lead the Mariners. Williams averaged 13.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Williams' 8.4 rebounds was top-five in the conference.
Dean College nabs the fourth spot with 23 total points. The Bulldogs are under the direction of sixth-year head coach Rico Cabral, and return first team All-NECC performer Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.). Booker was the league's top scorer a season ago, averaging 22.7 points per game in his junior campaign.
Becker College comes in at the fifth spot with 15 points, and will have head coach Brian Gorman back on the sidelines. Becker will return three starters from last year, including Antonio White Jr. (Middletown, Conn.) who contributed 15.6 points per game.
Elms College and Lesley University will also battle for the 2019 crown, as they round out the coaches poll with 11 and seven points, respectively.
2019-20 Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
- New England College- 35 (5)
T2. Eastern Nazarene College 28 (1)
T2. Mitchell College- 28 (1)
- Dean College- 23
- Becker College – 15
- Elms College- 11
- Lesley University- 7