GNAC Releases Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll With Season About To Start – WOU Athletics - Techy Hunters

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Friday, October 15, 2021

GNAC Releases Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll With Season About To Start – WOU Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore. – After concluding the 2019-20 season in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships back in March of 2020, the Western Oregon University men’s basketball team is certainly looking forward to the season this year. The GNAC released the Preseason Coaches Poll which tabbed the Wolves eighth on Friday.

WOU put together a strong 2019-20 season under first-year head coach Wes Pifer tallying 19 wins and 13 in conference play which tied the Wolves for second. In this year’s poll, WOU tallied 34 points to come in eighth, while Seattle Pacific picked up all 10 first-place votes and 100 points as the pick to win this year. Alaska Anchorage is second with 77 points and Western Washington round out the top-three in third with 76 points. Alaska Fairbanks is fourth (64 points), Northwest Nazarene in fifth (61), Central Washington in sixth (47), Simon Fraser in seventh (41), Saint Martin’s in ninth (28) and Montana State Billings in 10th (22).

The Wolves went 19-8 overall and 13-7 in GNAC play in 2019-20, that included a 10-2 mark inside NPE Gym. WOU played well on the road going 9-6 overall away from Monmouth and 6-5 in true road contests. WOU picked up a big win early that season over then No. 6 ranked and now Division I Dixie State rolling to the 91-75 win in Monmouth. That was part of a five-game winning streak that vaulted the Wolves into the top-25 national rankings of the NABC coming in at No. 24.

This year’s team will have a new look, with some familiar faces.

Returners include Cameron Cranston who was second on the team in scoring at 13 points per game. He also pulled down 3.6 rebounds per game, dished out 48 assists, added 36 steals, 18 blocks, shot over 48 percent from the field and connected on 53 three-pointers in 27 games. John Morrill-Keeler is back after putting together a strong first season with the Wolves. He tallied 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, along with 18 steals, 22 blocks and shot over 59 percent from the field in 27 games. Tyreek Price returns to the back court after seeing time in 26 games during his first season in Monmouth. He averaged 4.8 points, added 11 assists, 16 steals and 30 three-pointers. Other returners include Antonio Salinas who played in 19 games, tallying 47 points, 21 rebounds, 11 assists and made 12 three-pointers, while making over 42 percent from the field. Collin Warmouth saw time in 17 games, recording 29 points, 16 rebounds and shot over 42 percent from the field. RJ Veliz also played a few games early in the season.

WOU will be without top-scorer Dalven Brushier who led the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game. He also grabbed 4.3 rebounds, dished out 79 assists, added 16 steals and shot 50 percent from the field and almost 43 percent from long range. Jaylyn Richardson also finished his career in 2019-20 and was third on the team in scoring at 12.8 points, while grabbing four rebounds per game, dished out 41 assists, added 29 steals, 15 blocks and shot over 48 percent from the field. Darius Lubom and Emanuel Gant combined to average 23.6 points per game and 10.2 rebounds in their final seasons as Wolves.

Drew Rippingham will be back this year after redshirting in the 2019-20 season.

Four players will be freshmen on the team this year in Griffin Datcher IV, Peter-Kaci Gwananji, Qiant Myers and Zach Moore. Four transfers will look to make an immediate impact for the Wolves in Yosani Clay, Daisone Hughes, Cameron Benzel and Elihu Cobb.

WOU begins the season with a home exhibition contest on Thursday, Nov. 4 against Linfield starting at 7 p.m. The regular season will officially tipoff on Friday, Nov. 12 when the Wolves will travel to California to play Cal State San Bernardino.

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