MACON, Ga. – The Stetson men’s basketball team, now nearly two weeks into official practice, was selected seventh in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, announced by the league on Thursday afternoon.
After a banner year in which they finished third in the A-Sun during the regular season, and made a trip to the conference semifinals, the Hatters lost three of their top four scorers from 2012-13 to graduation.
Fortunately, Stetson returns three former starters in seniors Willie Green, Aaron Graham, and Hunter Miller, and head coach Corey Williams brought in a wealth of new talent to join the squad, so the Hatters were picked to remain in the playoff hunt.
Stetson received 37 total points in the poll, placing ahead of eighth place Lipscomb, ninth place Northern Kentucky, and 10th place Kennesaw State. The Hatters were also picked seventh in the media poll.
Defending champion Florida Gulf Coast was picked to repeat, earning 95 total points and six of the 10 first place nods. Holding the regular season title from a year ago, Mercer was picked second with 92 points and three first place votes.
USC Upstate (3rd, 75 points), Jacksonville (4th, 63 points), North Florida (5th, 58 points), and ETSU (6th, 55 points) rounded out the teams selected ahead of Stetson. The Ospreys received the final first place vote.
USC Upstate’s Torrey Craig was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year, while FGCU’s Bernard Thompson was picked as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The 10 player Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team was made up of three members of FGCU, three from USC Upstate, two from Mercer, and one each from Jacksonville and North Florida.
College Sports Madness, which handed out its own A-Sun preseason honors earlier in the fall, selected Aaron Graham as a third team all-conference honoree, and recognized Andrew Zelis as a freshman to watch in the league.
Stetson opens the season with a pair of home exhibition games at the Edmunds Center. Stetson will host Tamp on Oct. 26 at 1:00 p.m., and then welcome Palm Beach Atlantic to DeLand on Nov. 4. The regular season kicks off on Nov. 8 when the Hatters travel to Clemson.
The home opener is on Saturday, Nov. 30 when Stetson plays host to Davidson at 1:00 p.m. Season ticket are now on sale. For information go to GoHatters.com/tix or call 386-822-HATS.