NEW ALBANY, Ind. – The University of Rio Grande was picked fourth overall and third in the East Division according to the 2017-18 River States Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday by conference officials.
The poll and preseason all-conference team were selected through balloting of the league’s 13 head coaches. The coaches’ poll listed the teams overall, regardless of division, as well as by the six-team East Division and seven-school West Division. The preseason all-conference team selected the top 10 players in the conference.
Rio Grande, which finished 13-18 last season, picked up 121 points in the balloting on the overall list and received 52 points in the East Division voting. The RedStorm also grabbed one first-place vote in the East Division.
Senior Will Hill (Worthington, OH) represented the RedStorm on the 10-player Preseason All-Conference Team. A first team All-RSC honoree last season, Hill averaged 21.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game for head coach Ken French’s club a year ago.
Indiana University East was picked as both the overall favorite and the favorite in the RSC East Division. IU East is coming off a 28-8 record overall, an RSC Tournament title and a trip to the final eight of the national tournament a year ago. The Red Wolves, who finished No. 6 in the country last season, received 11 of 13 first-place votes in the overall poll and 12 of 13 first-place votes to win the RSC East.
IU Southeast is picked second overall and is predicted first in the RSC West Division. The Grenadiers, who were the RSC regular-season champion and RSC Tournament runner-up at 24-7 overall, received two first-place votes in the overall ballot and are the favorites in the RSC West with 12 of 13 first-place votes there.
IU Southeast made the national tournament as well and ended the year ranked No. 23 in the country.
WVU Tech, which was 23-9 last year en route to a national tournament appearance, is picked third in the overall poll and second in the RSC East. The Golden Bears were in the NAIA DII Top 25 for much of the season and ended the year “receiving votes”.
Rio Grande finished just ahead of Ohio Christian University (21-15), which is fifth overall and fourth in the division. Asbury (Ky.) University (16-14) is picked sixth overall and second in the RSC West. The Eagles earned one first-place vote in their division.
Brescia (Ky.) University (12-17) and Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College (12-18) were picked seventh and eighth overall and as the third- and fourth-place teams in the division.
Rounding out the overall poll were IU Kokomo, Point Park (Pa.) University, Cincinnati Christian University, Carlow (Pa.) University and Midway (Ky.) University.
Joining Hill on the Preseason All-Conference Team were WVU-Tech senior Elisha Boone, IU East senior Jacoby Claypool, IU Kokomo senior Trent Elliott, Brescia junior Dillon Geralds, Cincinnati Christian junior Blake Walsman, IU Southeast senior Demetrius Stanton, Asbury junior Trenton Thompson, Point Park senior Gavin Rajahpillay and Carlow junior Charlie Scharbo.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.