Men’s college hoops preview: District teams, players to watch

November 27, 2018

Division II

Teams to watch

IUP: The Crimson Hawks, ranked No. 8 in the NABC preseason top 25, return three starters, including preseason All-American forward Jacobo Diaz (14.8 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game last season) and All-PSAC West point guard Dante Lombardi (12.9 ppg, 5.1 assists per game).

Slippery Rock: Only one player returns, but it’s a big one: All-American forward Micah Till, who averaged 21 points and a PSAC-leading 12 rebounds last season. Coach Kevin Reynolds always brings in quality transfers, and he added 10 to the roster.

Gannon: Coach John Reilly faces a major challenge after losing his top five players from a team that went 22-10 and reached the PSAC title game last season.

Players to watch

Trevor Blondin, Seton Hill senior: Ranked seventh in the PSAC with 20.8 points per game last season and earned second-team all-conference honors.

Anthony Coleman, Edinboro senior: Averaged 15.2 points last season and will step into a bigger role with the departure of all-time leading scorer Jaymon Mason.

Josh Wise, Pitt-Johnstown junior: Washington graduate averaged 15 points and 5.6 rebounds last season. Scored team-high 16 in Thursday’s exhibition loss to Pitt.

Did you know?

IUP was within five points of No. 2 Kentucky twice in the second half Friday before losing 86-64 in an exhibition game.

Division III/NAIA

Teams to watch

St. Vincent: All-PAC selection and Gateway product Tom Kromka (11.3 points, 7.1 rebounds) and versatile guard Kyle Evans (6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.6 steals) among returners for Bearcats team that finished third in conference last season and will be among favorites with departure of Thomas More.

Westminster: The Titans, who went 19-9 last season, led the PAC in scoring and bring back two starters, including Austin Armwood (11.2 points, team-high 3.3 assists).

La Roche: The Redhawks reached the NCAA Tournament last season and bring back two first-team All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference selections: Trell Thomas (15.4 points) and RayQuan Phifer (13.5 points).

Players to watch

Matt Popeck, Waynesburg sophomore: Washington graduate averaged 15.4 points as freshman, which ranked sixth in PAC and is tops among returning players in the conference.

Ethan Moose, Geneva junior: Neshannock graduate was seventh in PAC in scoring (15.3), third in rebounding (7.8) and first in steals (2.1).

Jordan Rawls, Allegheny junior: Allderdice product ranked fourth in North Coast Athletic Conference in scoring (16.6) and fifth in rebounding (6.3) last season.

Did you know?

Thomas More, which left the PAC after last season, won the past two conference championships and lost in the final in 2015 and ’14. That means there’s room for a new team to emerge.

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