Troy, NY----The Sage Colleges men's basketball team will open the 2009-2010 season this weekend, hosting cross-town rival, RPI. With expectations high for the arrival of Division III men's basketball at Sage, the Gators were picked to finish in 10th place in the Skyline Conference Men's Basketball pre-season poll by the league's coaches.
SKYLINE CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL
PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
1. Farmingdale State (6) 95
2. Old Westbury (5) 87
3. Maritime 78
4. Purchase 73
5. St. Joseph's-L.I. 69
6. Mount Saint Vincent 54
7. Yeshiva 52
8. Mount Saint Mary 38
9. NYU-Poly 24
10. Sage 20
11. Bard 15
(First-place votes in parentheses)
A year after going 27-4 and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Championship, Farmingdale State has been picked first in the Skyline Conference men's basketball coaches' preseason poll. SUNY College at Old Westbury, which returns its top three scorers from last season, was picked a close second with five first-place votes.
If Erik Smiles and his Farmingdale State team are to make another run at a Skyline Conference title, the Rams will have to overcome the loss of a number of key players from last season's NCAA Tournament team. Gone is two-time Skyline Conference Player of the Year, guard Damien Santana (19.3 ppg), the school's all-time leading scorer. Seniors Erastus Shannon (13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Joe Cammarata (9.7 ppg) and Davon Jackson (6.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) have also departed, leaving Farmingdale State without four of its top six scorers. Senior forward Mike Cambell, the Rams' leading scorer (19.6 ppg) and rebounder (9.5 rpg), and an All-Skyline first-team selection last season, will once again be a key player. Several newcomers are also expected to contribute right away.
Old Westbury, which returns four of its top five scorers from last season, is expected to challenge its local rival. Senior forward Hakiem George (15.6 ppg) was the Panthers' top scorer and an All-Skyline second-team selection last season. Senior guards Bill Reese (14.8 ppg) and Shane DeNully (7.7 ppg, 7.0 apg) give Old Westbury an experienced backcourt. Junior 6-10 center Lester Prosper (13.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 55 blocks) continues to emerge as one of the conference's top big men.
SUNY Maritime College continues to climb the conference ladder. The Privateers were picked third again after finishing third last season. Maritime's balanced offensive attack is led by senior guard Andre Cooper (12.7 ppg, 3.0 apg) and athletic junior forward Giovanni Hurley (9.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 33 blocks).
Purchase was one of the surprise teams in the conference last season, improving from 3-22 in 2007-08 to 15-11 in 2008-09 under head coach Jeff Charney. Junior forward Marvin Billups (23.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg), an All-Skyline first-team selection, is one of the conference's most explosive scorers.
St. Joseph's, which captured the Skyline Conference championship last season, lost three senior starters in first team All-Skyline selections J.J. Walsh and David Acree as well as center Chris Niblock. The Golden Eagles return one of the conference's top point guards in sophomore Chris Jimenez.