The Northeast Conference announced its preseason coachesâ€™ poll and Preseason All-NEC Team on Wednesday at the leagueâ€™s â€śSocialâ€ť Media Day at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Central Connecticut menâ€™s basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the conference, while Saint Francis University was tabbed as the preseason favorite and collected nine first-place votes.
Head coach Donyell Marshall is set to begin his second season at the helm of the Blue Devils and has a squad that returns three players with significant experience as a starter from last season, while adding five newcomers to the roster.
Junior Austin Nehls started all 29 games in 2016-17 and averaged a team-high 13.4 points per game, while playing a league-high 36.1 minutes per game. Senior Mustafa Jones (10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and sophomore Tyson Batiste (5.2 ppg, 2.9 apg) are the other returnees with starting experience.
The Blue Devils open the season on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Hartford in Chase Arena. Central will host Nyack College for an exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m.
CCSU women picked fifth
The Central Connecticut womenâ€™s basketball team was chosen fifth in the 2017-18 Northeast Conference preseason coachesâ€™ poll, as announced on Wednesday at the leagueâ€™s â€śSocialâ€ť Media Day at in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Blue Devils, under the direction of 11th year head coach Beryl Piper, advanced to the NEC semifinals last season before concluding their season at 11-20 and 9-9 in the league. CCSU will return three starters, including junior Kiana Patterson, who leads the returnees, averaging 11.2 ppg. She started in 30 games for Central last season.