URG men’s hoops receives votes in NAIA poll

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

KANSAS CITY Mo. – The University of Rio Grande was among the schools receiving votes in the 2015 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll released late Tuesday.

The RedStorm received 13 points in the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions for the equivalent of 34th place.

Head coach Ken French’s club, which finished 19-12 overall and 6-7 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last year, returns four starters – including seniors D.D. Joiner (18.1 ppg) and Dwayne Bazemore (17.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg), both of whom were All-KIAC selections last season.

The RedStorm were picked second in the KIAC Colonial Division and third in the league overall in the KIAC’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Rio Grande opens its regular season schedule at home on November 6 against Miami University-Middletown as part of the Saunders Insurance Tip-off Classic.

Defending national champion Cornerstone (Mich.) was the top-ranked team in the poll, receiving all 12 first-place votes and 312 points. This marks the 23rd-straight poll that the Golden Eagles find themselves in the Top 25, 19 of which have been Top 10 rankings.

Indiana Wesleyan was second in the voting with 300 points, while davenport, Mich.. (292 pts.), Saint Francis, Ind. (280 pts.) and Olivet Nazarene, Ill. (264 pts.) round out the top five.

Indiana Wesleyan is in the Top 25 for the 45th-straight week, dating back to Jan. 30, 2012. Davenport (Mich.) holds the active streak of being consecutively ranked with 77-straight mentions.

Bethel (Ind.) has the most No. 1 mentions with 35. Former-member Embry Riddle (Fla.) is second with 21.

Eleven of the 12 conferences are represented in the Top 25 poll. The Crossroads League leads all leagues with four teams represented. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Cascade Collegiate Conference, Great Plains Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference each has three teams represented.

The KIAC is also represented by No. 10 Indiana University-East and Brescia University, which received 39 points for the equivalent of 27th place.

The first regular-season installment will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing