The 2015-16 PSAC West men’s basketball poll was released Thursday, and last year’s national runner-up isn’t at the top of the list.
IUP, who made a run at last year’s national title comes into the season second in the league behind Mercyhurst, which tops the poll for the first time in the history of the program.
Following the Lakers and Crimson Hawks, in order, are Edinboro, Gannon, Slippery Rock, Cal, Clarion, Pitt-Johnstown and Seton Hill.
The PSAC West preseason all-conference team, also announced Thursday, consists of AJ Leahy (Pitt-Johnstown), Jaymon Mason (Edinboro), Brandon Norfleet (IUP), Richard Smith (California), Kameron Taylor (Seton Hill) and Henri Wade-Chatman (Edinboro).
The top-ranked Lakers will likely be led by Gerrae Williams, a second-team All-PSAC selection last season. The senior guard averaged 10.5 points per game a year ago. The Lakers made their first NCAA Tournament appearance last season, falling in a close opening-round game to Fairmont State 68-65. For the past six seasons, Mercyhurst has done better than its preseason prediction, finishing second in the league a year ago after being picked to take third.
The second-ranked IUP squad will be without catalyst Devante Chance after the All-American point guard, along with Shawn Dyer, graduated last year.
The PSAC’s leading scorer from last year also returns for 2015-16 as Henri Wade-Chatman looks to lead Edinboro, which was ranked third.
Gannon, which ranked fourth in the preseason poll, will look to win back-to-back league titles.
East Stroudsburg topped the PSAC East poll.
PSAC MEN’S BASKETBALL EAST PRESEASON POLL
1. East Stroudsburg
T-2. West Chester
4. Lock Haven
PSAC MEN‘S BASKETBALL EAST PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Josh Johnson (Kutztown)
Rasheed Moore (East Stroudsburg)
Thomas Moore (Mansfield)
Jamal Nwaniemeka (East Stroudsburg)
Bootsie Walker (Lock Haven)
Matt Wiseley (West Chester)
PSAC MEN‘S BASKETBALL WEST PRESEASON POLL
5. Slippery Rock
9. Seton Hill
PSAC MEN’S BASKETBALL WEST PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
AJ Leahy (Pitt-Johnstown)
Jaymon Mason (Edinboro)
Brandon Norfleet (IUP)
Richard Smith (California)
Kameron Taylor (Seton Hill)
Henri Wade-Chatman (Edinboro)
Photo credot: Mercyhurst Athletics