FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Christopher Newport was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the 2018-19 Capital Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll. The Captains received six first-places votes and totaled 48 points to land atop the preseason rankings in a vote among the conference head coaches.
Mary Washington edged York by the narrowest of margins for second place in the rankings, with both sides receiving one first-place vote. UMW compiled 39 points to place second, with York just behind in third with 38 points.
Salisbury took fourth place with 34 points, followed by Frostburg State in fifth with 20 points. Penn State Harrisburg and St. Mary's tied for sixth with 18 points apiece, while Southern Virginia (9 points) rounding out the preseason rankings.
The 2018-19 season begins on Thursday, Nov. 8 with one conference team in action. All teams will begin play by mid-November. The CAC postseason is set to begin on Feb. 19, with the title game slated for Feb. 23.
2018-19 CAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
Points (First-Place Votes)
|1.||Christopher Newport||48 (6)|
|2.||Mary Washington||39 (1)|
|6T.||Penn State Harrisburg||18|
Below is a brief preview of each team entering the 2018-19 campaign:
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT returns 13 players from a year ago, including nine that averaged at least ten minutes per game. CNU has advanced to the CAC title game in each of the last five years, and last year competed in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. Marcus Carter, a first team All-American as a sophomore, sat out most of last season with an ankle injury and returns to the squad for his senior year. Fellow senior Tyler Femi and juniors Luther Gibbs, Nick Parks, Savonte Chappell and Cutch Ellis all will see considerable playing time. Head coach John Krikorian, the CAC's Coach of the Year the last three seasons, returns for his ninth year at the helm.
FROSTBURG STATE made its first appearance in the CAC Tournament last season since the 2012-13 campaign. First-year head coach Sean Brown can rely on a core of senior forward Edwin Cole and junior guards Lawrence Pettis and Daniel Alexander. Cole averaged a double-double and led the CAC in rebounding and shot blocking last season, while Pettis led the conference in assists and Alexander ranked third on the roster in scoring and second in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. Frostburg welcomes a dozen newcomers to the roster after the graduation of six impactful seniors.
MARY WASHINGTON head coach Marcus Kahn, in his fifth season at the helm, brings back 14 players and adds four new faces to a team that finished 11 games over .500 last season. Senior Johnny Cronin will look to lead the CAC in field goal percentage for the third straight season, and 2017-18 Rookie of the Year Drew Johnson is back for the Eagles. Jacob Williams will be the leader on the court and bring along a talented group of freshman. Mark Madison and Khiorie Stewart were key players off the bench last season and the Eagles hope they can bring that spark again this season.
Following a season in which the team lost eight games by seven points or less, PENN STATE HARRISBURG is looking at one last opportunity to qualify for its first-ever CAC Tournament this winter. The Lions managed just four conference wins a year ago, with six losses to league opponents coming by single-digit margins. Returning six players with starting experience, the Blue & White hope to take a step forward this season. Back are 2017-18 leading scorers Khalil Williams and Chris Bing, as well as Gbolahan Alliyu; one of the top shot-blockers in the CAC a year ago. The trio of bigs will make a formidable front court this winter. Newcomer Donyae Baylor-Carroll is poised to contribute in year one, as the freshman is hot off a season that included first-team all-state honors and a trip to the final four of the state championship tournament as a high school senior. Fellow frosh Bradley DaBella should add some much-needed shooting from distance, while returning guards Brandon Coleman, Keenan Wise and Ibn-Haneef Nelson, as well as freshman Zegary Scott III will provide valuable depth in the backcourt.
With just one senior on the team, the 2018-19 campaign will be a rebuilding season for ST. MARY'S. The Seahawks welcome 16 newcomers and look to turnaround last year's disappointing three-win season. The team will count on Matt Ayoub's sharpshooting, which ranked in the top-10 in the conference a year ago, to jump-start the St. Mary's offense.
SALISBURY will look to build upon its momentum of the recent years, aiming for the program’s fourth NCAA tournament appearance in five years. The Sea Gulls will be led by Interim Head Coach Brian McDermott, who has a veteran squad, bringing back four players who started at least 18 games last season. Senior captain Chase Kumor started all 27 games a year ago, while classmate Blair Davis is back following a second-team All-CAC honor in 2017-18, as the point guard ranked fourth in the league with 3.7 assists per game.
Head coach Greg Winslow will be at the helm in his first season at SOUTHERN VIRGINIA. The Knights lose their top three scorers heading into the 2018-19 season. The Knights will look for an improvement from last season’s role players. The Knights look to return one full-time starter in Alec Johnson who finished eighth in assists per game in the CAC. Senior Kellen Winslow returns after starting 17 of the 25 games last season. Sharpshooter Sam Armstrong will add to the teams outside shooting after finishing fourth in the conference behind the arc at a 41.8% clip. The returning leading scorer is sophomore Jaron Anderson at 7.9 per game.
Defending CAC-champion YORK will need to replace a trio of 1,000 point scorers but head coach Matt Hunter will turn to an experienced core of players to take the reigns of the team. Seniors Jason Bady and Mike Frauenheim provide York with steady leadership while a strong core of juniors provide York with talented returning players. Juniors Jared Wagner, Darin Gordon, Joey Polczynski, and Zach Novick will all see significant floor time this winter. Hunter has a group of freshmen who have the opportunity to contribute in their first year in the program.