Grizzlies begin title defense picked fifth
by Chris Day
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— Despite winning their first ever Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division title, the Adams State College men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fifth in the division in 2007-08 according to the RMAC Preseason Poll that was announced Thursday by conference officials at the league’s Basketball Media Day.
The Grizzlies, under new head coach Mark Murdock, who will have the services of just four returning players, received 117 points in the poll, voted upon by the RMAC’s coaches who ranked opposing teams 1-13 without voting for their own squad.
Defending RMAC Champion Metro State received all 13 possible first place votes easily winning the poll. Fort Lewis was the top team in the West Division with 31 points. The Skyhawks received Metro State’s first place vote.
Nebraska-Kearney finished third overall and second in the East Division with 40 points while Mesa State finished fourth overall and second in the West with 60 points. Fort Lewis and Mesa State shared the RMAC West Division crown with the Grizzlies in 2006-07, although ASC earned the second seed in the RMAC Shootout by virtue of tiebreakers.
Colorado State-Pueblo, which finished with 71 points, and Western New Mexico, which had 97, also finished ahead of the Grizzlies while Western State (131) and New Mexico Highlands (157) finished behind ASC.
Colorado Christian finished third in the East and fifth overall with 65 points and received two of the biggest individual awards. Cougar senior Brian Stamer was tabbed as the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year while sophomore Justin Neuhaus was picked as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Stamer was also a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-RMAC team and is joined by Metro State’s Jesse Wagstaff and Marquise Carrington along with Fort Lewis’ Devon Manning and Colorado Mines’ Kyle Pape.
Manning, the top vote getter on the Preseason All-West Division Team, was the only other unanimous selection. Colorado State-Pueblo junior Jake Trahern, Western State senior Carleton Goggins, Western New Mexico senior Trey Clarkson and Fort Lewis senior Ryan Johnson were also tabbed to the All-West Division Team.
Nebraska-Kearney sophomore Drake Beranek joined Stamer, Wagstaff, Carrington and Pape on the All-East Division Team.
UC-Colorado Springs (99), Colorado Mines (105), Regis (140) and Chadron State (146) rounded out the polling of the East Division teams.
The Grizzlies begin their season on Nov. 2 with an exhibition game at Division I Southern Utah before commencing the regular season on Nov. 16 at home against North Dakota.
Related Item: Complete RMAC Release