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  • GSAC Preseason
GSAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll and Preview
Men's Basketball - Wed, Oct. 21, 2015

The college basketball offseason is painfully long but now it's finally time for tip off! Many teams will begin their 2015-16 season next week with high hopes of claiming the GSAC crown.

MEN'S BASKETBALL COACHES' POLL
PLACE SCHOOL POINTS
1 Arizona Christian (7) 78
2 Hope International (1) 67
3 Westmont (1) 64
4 Vanguard 54
5 Biola 43
6 William Jessup 40
7 The Master's 30
8 San Diego Christian 19
9 Menlo 10
(First place votes in parentheses.)

 

The GSAC favorite this season will be the Arizona Christian Firestorm. ACU received seven of the nine first place votes from the coaches' poll. Coach Jeff Rutter returns four of his five starters including NAIA All-American Brandon Newman. All-GSAC forward Sharif Watson will look to lead the Firestorm's frontline. Coach Rutter gets three top tier transfers (Chris Sterling, Collin Wood, and Trevor Clay) to add to his team. ACU will hope to make a deep run in March as they should be the class of the league.

After winning the 2015 conference title and conference tournament outright, Hope International will look to defend their title this year. The Royals will have a tough task at hand after losing first team All-American and GSAC Player of the Year Kenny Morgan.

The Royals, who received one first place vote in the preseason coaches' poll, will look to get production from senior Garrett Neilan. The 6'6" guard has been with the Royals all four years of his collegiate career. Tuff Barnes will need to be a factor inside for the Royals to have success on the frontline. The senior forward averaged 8 points and 4.5 rebounds a game in just 20 minutes off the bench for HIU in 2015. The Royals will also welcome transfers Dominique Lanier and Bernard Ireland. Both players transferred from conference opponent, The Master's College in 2013-14. They will look to bolster the guard rotation for HIU.

The 2015 NAIA Division 1 Runner-ups were the Westmont College Warriors. The Warriors were picked third by the coaches, finishing just three points behind HIU. The Warriors return 11 of their 14 players which includes three of five starters. Corey Blau, All-GSAC player, will carry the Warriors this year. Blau shot just under 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from beyond the arc last year. 

Vanguard University is projected to finish fourth in the GSAC according to the preseason coaches' poll. Although the Lions lose their top three scorers from last season, they will hope some key newcomers can have an immediate impact on the program. Zach Allmon and Myles Smith are the only returning starters for VUSC.

The Biola Eagles will turn to junior guard Dakari Archer, who has averaged 14 points per game in his first two seasons. According to longtime head coach Dr. Dave Holmquist, Archer is the heart and soul of the team. The Eagles will look to finish somewhere around the middle of the pack.

William Jessup will welcome the services of transfers Saajid Polite (Sioux Falls) and Micheal Patterson (Oklahoma State). The Warriors will also get back the team's top scorer in 2014, Darius Clement. The 6'4" forward average 19 points and 9 rebounds per game for WJU.

The Masters College will look for someone to fill the shoes of All-American Russell Byrd. The Mustangs will have three starters back but are still projected to finish in the bottom half of the GSAC. Look for guard Reid Shackelford to lead TMC this season.

San Diego Christian will look to senior transfer Delante Dunklin and senior forward Trevor English to lead the Hawks this year. Dunklin, a 6'1" point guard, averaged 10 points a game last season at Metro State Denver.

The GSAC welcomes Menlo College to the conference. Although the Oaks might have a tough time their first year in the GSAC, Coach Aiona returns 13 of his 15 players from last season including all five starters. 

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