Randolph-Macon Headlines ODAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Randolph-Macon Headlines ODAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

R-MC Receives Eight First Place Votes, H-SC Earns Four

FOREST, Va. --- Randolph-Macon College received eight first place votes on the way to 117 total points to headline the 2013-14 ODAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll.  The Yellow Jackets are followed closely by Hampden-Sydney College, which picked up 114 markers including the remaining four top nods.  Virginia Wesleyan College sits third after collecting 102 points in the annual coaches' survey.

The 2012-13 campaign proved yet another banner year for ODAC men's hoops, with four teams garnering a spot in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.  Randolph-Macon took the most direct route to the field of 62 teams by winning the conference title, 75-64, over Virginia Wesleyan.  The crown marked the second for R-MC in the past three years and fifth overall, which ties for third in ODAC history.

Hampden-Sydney, Virginia Wesleyan and Randolph College, making its very first NCAA tournament appearance, joined R-MC on the national stage.  It marked the second time in four years that the ODAC was represented by a quartet of teams.  The Yellow Jackets and Marlins both won a pair of games, with R-MC trouncing Stevens Institute (69-60) and WPI (79-68) before falling to eventual national champion Amherst College (93-76) in the third round.  VWC knocked off St. Norbert College (59-58) and Christopher Newport University (80-69) before its exit was forced by Williams College (84-75).  Randolph and Hampden-Sydney dropped their first round contests, with the WildCats falling to Emory University, 77-56, and the Tigers bowing out to Cabrini College, 80-78.

Although only seven all-conference selections are back for 2013-14 and several teams have key pieces to replace, three squads open the season ranked in the D3hoops.com Top-25 Preseason Poll, led by 14th-ranked Hampden-Sydney.  Randolph-Macon is slated 16th, while Virginia Wesleyan sits 25th. 

Randolph-Macon (21-10 overall, 11-5 in ODAC play in 2012-13) features one of those returning all-league performers  in All-ODAC Second Team forward Andre Simon (11.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg).  Guards Connor Sullivan (11.0 ppg, 38.3 3FG%) and Marcus Badger (6.1 ppg, 115 ast) make it three starters back in R-MC's opening five.  Forwards Akeem Holmes (6.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 20 blk)  and Joe Hassell (6.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 54.1 FG%) look to breakout on the front line, while Chris Hamilton (4.8 ppg, 37.5 3FG%) joins Sullivan as shooters on the perimeter after combining for 82 three-pointers made last season.

Hampden-Sydney (23-5, 14-2) graduated three-time first team choice Harrison George,  but fellow All-ODAC First Team center Khobi Williamson (14.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 77.7 FT%) returns after leading the ODAC at 65.8-percent shooting from the field.  The Tigers' deep roster includes frequent starters guard Greg Lewis (8.9 ppg, 39.8 3FG%) and swing man Keegan Wetzel (5.0 ppg, 51 ast).  Leon Hargrove (5.6 ppg, 41 stl, 65 ast) and Mike Murray (5.3 ppg, 95 ast) add more perimeter depth, while Fletcher Lumpkin (2.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg) contributes in the frontcourt. 

Virginia Wesleyan (23-8, 14-2) must replace three all-conference performers from a season ago, and back to help do that is former ODAC Player of the Year and 2012-13 first team guard D.J. Woodmore (14.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 77.1 FT%).  Forward Trent Batson (4.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 46 blk) started 20 contests a season ago, with Colby Heard (6.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) provided solid contributions down low off the bench.  The Marlins will also look to guard Sedric Nady (4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and forward Cameron Owens (4.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg) for increased production.

Guilford College (19-8, 10-6) will have a new focal point on offense following the graduation of three-time first teamer Josh Pittman, but All-ODAC Third Team guard Matt McCarthy (13.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 50 stl) is back to pick up some of the slack after leading the ODAC in three-pointers made (86).  Center Zeb Richardson (10.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 31 blk) is back down on the blocks after a solid freshman campaign that saw him finish tied for fourth in rebounding. 

Randolph College (21-7, 11-5) has been to a pair of title games under 2013 ODAC Coach of the Year, Clay Nunley.  If the WildCats are to make it three championship game appearances in four years, they'll have to do it without 2013 ODAC Player of the Year and Jostens Trophy winner, Colton Hunt.  Randolph will look to guard Mike Ehilegbu (10.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 42.5 3FG%) to up the ante on his production, in addition to the continued development of a host of second-year players including guards Evan Horn (5.9 ppg, 80 ast) and Corey Brown (5.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and forward Jason Eddie (4.1 ppg).  Guard Zach Desgain (8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 96 ast in 2012) is back after a year away from the program.

Lynchburg College (19-8, 9-7) and Eastern Mennonite University (15-12, 7-9) both return a pair of starters from last season.  The Hornets feature forward Manny Hernandez (15.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 80.4 FT%) and point guard Andrew Simmons (5.2 ppg, 53 ast) along the perimeter.  Hernandez finished third in the ODAC in three-pointers made (59).  The Royals are led by third team wing R.J. Sims (13.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 46 stl) and guard James Williams (5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg) on the outside, with David Falk (7.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 38 blk) providing some muscle on the interior.

Bridgewater College (10-16, 4-12) and Washington and Lee University (14-12, 9-7) combine for eight returning starters, in addition to Eagles' third team forward Ed Reddick (11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) off the bench.  All five starters are back for BC, led by guards Ronnie Thomas (10.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Tavis Stapleton (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg).  The Generals welcome three starters back as they look to replace triple-threat J.D. Ey.  Forward Andrew Franz (11.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg), the reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, is joined by guard Darren Douglas (4.7 ppg) and center Drew Kimberly (4.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) in addition to guard Kevin Gill (7.4 ppg, 41.6 3FG%).

Roanoke College (12-15, 4-12) graduated 2012 scoring champ Kwasi Amponsah.  Three starters are back in the fold including forward Daniel Eacho (12.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg), who finished second in the ODAC in rebounding.  Forward Andrew Daniels (11.5 ppg, 51.8 FG%) and guard Julian Ramirez (9.5 ppg, 107 ast, 47 stl) add more offensive punch.

Emory & Henry College (4-21, 2-14) is under new leadership as David Willson takes over the Wasps' reins.  He'll be looking to guards Myles Turner (11.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 78.6 FT%) and Malcolm Green (9.3 ppg), as well as forward Tyler Mullins (7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 20 blk), to lead the way in 2013-14.

Shenandoah University (4-22, 1-15) embarks on its second season under the ODAC banner.  The Hornets welcome back four starters including leading scorer, guard Jared Carithers (13.0 ppg). Carithers was also fifth in the league in three pointers made (52). Guard Avery Green (9.0 ppg in nine games played) is also back after missing much of last season.

Listed below is the full 2013-14 ODAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll.  For more information on ODAC men's basketball, visit any of the participating school's websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com and view the men's basketball virtual media guide.

Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter @odacathletics.  Be sure to check out the ODAC's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/ODAC1976) and watch an interview with each of the ODAC's head men's basketball coaches as they talk about their programs from media day in Salem (videos not live --- to be added after the event).

(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Randolph-Macon (8) 117 pts.
2. Hampden-Sydney (4) 114 pts.
3. Virginia Wesleyan 102 pts.
4. Guilford 91 pts.
5. Randolph 66 pts.
6. Lynchburg 64 pts.
7. Eastern Mennonite 62 pts.
8. Bridgewater 54 pts.
8. Washington and Lee 54 pts.
10. Roanoke 30 pts.
11. Emory & Henry 22 pts.
12. Shenandoah 16 pts.