BAY CITY, Mi. Hoops season is right around the corner and the results are in for the 2018-19 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll along with the All-GLIAC Preseason Awards as voted on by the league's coaches. The defending national champion Ferris State Bulldogs are the favorite in the North Division with the Ashland Eagles holding court in the South Division.
Ferris State (58 points, 9 first-place votes) returns eight letterwinners from year's championship squad under National Coach of the Year Andy Bronkema. While the Bulldogs lose four starters from last year, they do return six players who played key roles last season, including senior starting forward Markese Mayfield. Two-sport standout DeShaun Thrower also will return to the mix after played a big role down the stretch off the bench last year.
Ashland (60 points, 10 first-place) will have a new look as well in 2018-19 but they do not plan on it being a rebuilding year. Senior guard Ben Haraway and junior center Drew Noble return coming off of All-GLIAC second team honors last season and will be looking to fill the absence of the all-time leading scorer in program history along with another 1,000-point scorer who have moved on. A pair of D1 transfers will alove provide a bunch as the Eagles look to contend.
Second in the North Division is Northern Michigan (47 points, 3 first-place) who will head into the new year with veteran leadership in GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year Naba Echols and Isaiah Johnson who both earned first-time accolades last year. Grand Valley State (51 points, 2 first-place) resides in the No. 2 position in the South Division with its leading scorer returning in Hunter Hale along with reigning GLIAC Freshman of the Year Jake Van Tubbergen.
Michigan Tech (No. 3 North, 43 points) will look to Bryan Heath to lead this year's program along with sophomore guard Isaac Appleby. Davenport (No. 3 South, 36 points) has many new faces, with only Avery Hudson, Janeau Joubert, Robbie Bramhill, Delano Smith, and Zack Nieuwkoop returning this season who saw the court last year.
The final three spots in the North Division were occupied by: No. 4 Lake Superior State, No. 5 Parkside and No. 6 Purdue Northwest. The poll was rounded out in the South Divison by a tie for fourth place between Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State with Northwood sitting in sixth.
Competition begins on November 9th with GLIAC play commencing on November 29th. The 2019 GLIAC Men's Basketball Tournament will take place March 5th through the 10th.
2018-19 GLIAC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams
1. Naba Echols - Northern Michigan (Preseason Player of the Year)
2. Isaiah Johnson - Northern Michigan
3. DeShaun Thrower - Ferris State
4. Markese Mayfield - Ferris State
5. Bryan Heath - Michigan Tech
1. Drew Noble - Ashland
2. Ben Haraway - Ashland
3. Jake Van Tubbergen - Grand Valley State
4. Delano Smith - Davenport
5. Trey McBride - Northwood