ASC Sports Information Director
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Led by Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Preseason All-Conference Team picks in seniors Marqus Richards (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Deray Wilson (Anchorage, Alaska), the Adams State men’s basketball has team has been picked to finish third, league officials announced Tuesday.
The Grizzlies received 40 points and four of the possible 13 first place votes in the voting which had coaches rank teams in the order of predicted finish without voting for their own team.
Metro State, last season’s RMAC Shootout Champion, was the top pick with 20 points while garnering eight first place votes. Colorado Mines, the league tourney runner-up, received just two first place votes but was picked for second with 25 points.
The Roadrunners and Orediggers were also the only RMAC schools to appear in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Preseason Top 25, picked for 10th and 18th, respectively.
Following the Grizzlies were Colorado Mesa and Fort Lewis, last year’s regular season league champ, each receiving 59 points. New Mexico Highlands (78 points), Nebraska-Kearney (85 points), Western New Mexico (89 points), Colorado State-Pueblo (106 points) and Chadron State (123 points) rounded out the RMAC’s top 10. Western State, UC-Colorado Springs, Regis and Colorado Christian finished off the league poll.
The Grizzlies set an NCAA Division II-era (1992-93/present) school record last season with 20 wins after topping NMHU in the quarterfinal of the RMAC Shootout in a thrilling double overtime game, 106-98. ASC then fell in the semifinals against RMAC regular season champion Colorado Mines, but earned their first NCAA Division II National Tournament berth since the 2007 season and second in school history before falling to the Orediggers in their first round match-up.
Richards and Wilson led the Grizzlies offense which ranked second in the league at 80.0 points per game last season, averaging 14.8 and 13.6 points, respectively. Richards’ was named the last year’s All-RMAC Second Team, while Wilson was an All-RMAC First Team pick.
In addition to ranking second in scoring, the Grizzlies led the league in 2010 in steals (11.4), turnover margin (+3.41) and offensive rebounds (14.2). They also ranked second in rebounding offense, grabbing 39.1 boards per game, third in offensive rebounds (24.9), fourth in scoring margin (+6.6) and field goal percentage (46.1) and fifth in field goal percentage defense while holding teams to 43 percent shooting.
Richards was the RMAC’s 10th leading scorer, and ranked ninth in steals at 1.7 per game, 12th in defensive rebounds (3.8) and 16th in total rebounding (5.6).
Wilson’s 13.6 points per game ranked 14th in the league, and he also ranked 13th in assists (2.9) and 15th in steals (1.3).
Adams State returns all but one starter from last season, as seniors Shayar Lee (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Jamiko Verner (Denver, Colo.), as well as junior Jack Osborn (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) are back as well. Lee was the Grizzlies’ third leading scorer a year ago at 12.2 points per game, while Osbron ranked third in rebounding at 5.1 boards per game. Lee and Osborn also led ASC in blocks with 23 and 19, respectively.
Verner averaged a team best 3.8 assists in 2010, a tally good for fifth in the conference.
Also back is senior Robby Hanzlik (Denver, Colo.), who averaged 8.5 points and 2.5 rebounds as a junior. Hanzlik ranked fifth in the RmAC in 3-point field goal percentage, connecting on 46-of-117 (39.3 percent) of his attempts.
The 2011-12 campaign kicks off with a pair of exhibition games against the University of Utah on Friday, Nov. 4 and Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 5. Friday’s game with Utah tips off at 7 p.m., before a 4:05 p.m. game against Utah State Saturday.
The Grizzlies will then play a pair of games at the Carroll College Tournament in Helena, Mont. Between Nov. 17-19, and will face Northern New Mexico at Plachy Hall on Nov. 21 before the RMAC season kicks off on Dec. 2 when ASC will host CSU-Pueblo in a women’s-men’s doubleheader at 6 & 8 p.m.