HIGH POINT, N.C. – King University has been picked to finish first in the 2013-14 men’s basketball preseason coaches’ poll, the league announced Tuesday morning. Pfeiffer has been picked to finish eighth as they feature one of the youngest rosters in the conference.
The Falcons roster features no seniors and just one junior in 6-2 guard Cade Isley, but eight players return from a season ago. Sophomore point guard A.J. Clark is the team’s top returning scorer from a season as he averaged 8.7 points and dished out nearly four assists per game. Also returning is 6-5 sophomore Matt Ellwood who started 18 games in his rookie season and averaged 6.4 points and nearly three rebounds per game.
Head Coach Jeremy Currier and his staff brought in an impressive class of freshman to Misenheimer. Currier landed Mike Smith from Lexington, KY who scored 2,256 career points in high school and his 450 career steals placed him fourth in KHSAA history. Smith twice led the conference in scoring, highlighted by his 22.5 per game average as a sophomore. Smith joins Connor Dahn, Charlie Wagoner and Xavier Evans to form an impressive freshman class.
Currier, and his team, are excited for the season and the challenges ahead.
“A few weeks ago, Coach (Bobby) Lutz came back to campus for our Alumni Basketball Game," said Currier. "While here, Coach Lutz took time to speak with our players and coaching staff about the importance of facing adversity head on, sticking together always, and constantly pushing forward. These words have resonated within our program, and our players are focused on improving every day. I believe in the young men on our team, and am excited about the work ethic and togetherness that this group has demonstrated in our early practice sessions.”
Conference Carolinas was extremely competitive last season, and figures to be the same this year. Eight teams finished at least .500 in conference play and three teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
A year ago, King finished third in the league with a mark of 14-6, but they were only one game out of first place. King received four out of six first place votes as they lost only two players from last year’s squad.
Trailing King are Limestone and Barton who each made trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13. Limestone went 21-9 overall while Barton went 23-8. Each team went 15-5 in Conference Carolinas play and split the regular-season title.
Mount Olive finished fourth in the poll with Erskine fifth followed by Belmont Abbey, North Greenville, Pfeiffer, and Lee-McRae College respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Pre-Season Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)