Husson University has been chosen the preseason favorite to win the North Atlantic Conference men’s basketball title in a vote conducted by the league’s coaches Tuesday. The Eagles received four first-place votes and 90 total points to top the poll in which just six points separated the top three teams.
The Eagles return 10 players from last year’s team, which earned a berth in the ECAC New England Tournament after going 13-5 in conference play. Center Mark Zaharchuk and guard Eric Modica each averaged 11 points per game last season and return to lead Husson.
Defending champion Castleton was picked to finish second with 86 points. Castleton was followed by Colby-Sawyer (84), UM-Farmington (66), Thomas (65), New England College (44), Lyndon State (42), Johnson State (31), Green Mountain (26) and Maine Maritime Academy (13).
For the women’s teams, Colby-Sawyer College has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the NAC title with seven-first place votes and 97 total points while defending champ Castleton was picked second with 93.
Following Castleton are MMA (77), New England College (63), Husson (61), UMF (55), Lyndon State (37), Thomas (33), Johnson State (23) and Green Mountain (11).
Six Mainers named USM captains
Six student-athletes from Maine have been named captains of the University of Southern Maine men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Mike Poulin of Readfield, Alex Kee of Bath and Brandon Tomah of Princeton will lead the men’s team while Nicole Garland of Portland, Haley Jordan of Falmouth and Meredith Reid of Portland will lead the women’s team.
The USM men open on Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy in the UMaine-Presque Isle Star City Classic.
A 6-foot-1 junior guard, Tomah is USM’s top returning scorer averaging 11 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Kee averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3 assists a game last season while Poulin averaged 10.3 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Both are senior guards while Poulin runs the point.
USM is picked to finish eighth in the Little East Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Garland, Jordan and Reid are all seniors on the USM women’s team, which was picked to finish first in the Little East preseason poll.
Jordan paced the Huskies last season with 14.9 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Garland averaged 12.9 points and 2.1 assists a game while Reid had a limited role after missing part of the season due to injury.
USM opens its season against UMF in the UMass Dartmouth Tip Off Classic at 3 p.m. Friday.
MMA collecting toys for Adams School
Maine Maritime Academy’s men’s and women’s basketball teams want to help children at the Adams School in Castine have a merry Christmas. The teams will have toy collection containers at the check-in area of the dining hall and at all home basketball games through Dec. 17.
Those interested in donating toys may contact Chris Murphy at 326-2452 or Craig Dagan at 326-2372.
Shipley gains academic honor
University of Maine football player Sam Shipley has been named to the CoSIDA/Capital One District I All-Academic Team.
Shipley, a senior from Santa Barbara, Calif., boasts a 3.91 grade point average while majoring in nursing and Spanish.
He converted to fullback this season after playing linebacker last season. He has played in four games while battling an injury.
Maine plays its season finale on Saturday at Rhode Island.