Hillcats No. 5 in NAIA Men's Preseason Poll
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Coach Justin Barkley and the Rogers State men’s basketball team will begin its final season in the NAIA ranked No. 5 the national office announced Tuesday evening.
The No. 5 ranking in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Poll is the highest preseason ranking in the program’s short history. The previous highest preseason ranking for the Hillcats was No. 6 in the 2009-10 poll. It marks the 17th consecutive week RSU has been ranked in the coaches’ poll.
Seven players including three starters return from last year’s quarterfinal squad that went 24-9 and 15-7 in conference play. This year RSU is projected to finish second in the Sooner Athletic Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
Among the returners are leading scorers Donald Williams and Kendrell Thompson at guard along with Justynn Hammond who led the Cats in steals. Alex Ewings, a Jenks Trojans product, returns for his senior season after compiling a 69-31 record in his first three seasons.
The Cats welcome a number of newcomers including former Oral Roberts point guard Ken Holdman, Tulsa World State Player of the Year JC Hartzler and Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State selections Ehron Ponds and Johnathon Buckley.
Defending national champions Concordia (Calif.) becomes the fifth different preseason No. 1 team in as many years. SAC opponent Oklahoma Baptist is ranked No. 2 after falling to the Eagles in the championship game last year.
To view a complete list of the rankings click here.
Rogers State opens the season October 30 inside the Claremore Expo taking on Central Baptist at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on RSU Radio 91.3FM and online at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.