MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande has been picked ninth overall and fifth among East Division squads in the 2020-21 River States Conference Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
The poll – along with the preseason all-conference team – was released Tuesday afternoon as part of league’s Men’s Basketball Media Day schedule.
Rio Grande, which is coming off a 12-18 finish overall and a 5-11 showing in conference play last season, is under the direction of first-year head coach – and Rio Grande alum – Ryan Arrowood.
Only five members from last season’s roster return for the ‘20-21 campaign, including redshirt senior forward Cam Schreiter (Mason, OH), who missed the entire ‘19-20 season due to injury after earning preseason all-conference honors.
The RedStorm, who tallied 57 points in the overall balloting, are scheduled to get the new season underway on Nov. 6 at the University of Pikeville.
Indiana University East, the defending RSC Championship winners, lead a crowd at the top of the preseason poll.
IU East (23-10 overall, 14-2 RSC last season) captured the RSC Championship with a thrilling win over Indiana University Kokomo at home. The Red Wolves garnered 134 total points and five first-place votes.
IU Kokomo (27-7 overall, 13-3 RSC) received 131 total points and three first-place votes.
WVU Tech, last year’s RSC regular season and East Division Champion, came in third in the poll with 129 total points and the remaining five first-place votes. The Golden Bears are coming off a season of 23-8 overall and 15-1 in RSC play.
Indiana University Southeast came in fourth in the poll with 116 total points. The Grenadiers (21-8, 13-3 RSC) won the West Division title a year ago.
Point Park (Pa.) University received 97 points to place fifth in the poll. Midway (Ky.) University was sixth with 79 points, followed by Asbury (Ky.) University and Ohio Christian University with 74 and 61 points, respectively. The top eight squads represented four from each division.
Brescia (Ky.) University (50 pts.) came in behind Rio Grande in 10th place, with Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College (49 pts.) in 11th, conference newcomer Oakland City (Ind.) University (24 pts.) in 12th and Carlow (Pa.) University (13 pts.) in 13th.
The preseason poll voting was also broken down into RSC East and West Divisions. IU Kokomo was the unanimous choice to win the RSC West with all 12 of the possible first-place votes.
IU East was the favorite to win the RSC East with seven first-place votes and 62 points, one more than WVU Tech’s six first-place nods and 61 points. Point Park tallied 45 points and Ohio Christian finished with 30, while Rio Grande (27 pts.) and Carlow (12 pts.) rounded out the divisional voting.
The 10-player RSC Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team was also conducted by voting from the league head coaches. Returning players from last year’s All-RSC First Team were automatically named, and returners from the All-RSC Second Team were voted onto this year’s preseason team.
First-team returners from last year include IU Southeast forward David Burton, IU Kokomo forward Desean Hampton, Ohio Christian forward Justin Barksdale, Midway forward Kwon Evans and WVU Tech forward Tamon Scruggs.
Second-team returners voted onto the preseason team included IU Kokomo guard Trequan Spivey, IU East guard Garrett Silcott, Asbury guard Leander Ridgeway, IU Southeast guard Jocobi Hendricks and IU East forward Jehu Lafeuille.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.