West Babylon, N.Y. – Bridgeport, the defending East Coast Conference Regular Season Champions, outpaced Daemen by just one point to top the league's preseason coaches' poll. Daemen's Andrew Sischo (Guilderland, N.Y.). the league's reigning Rookie of the Year, was also selected as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Bridgeport and Daemen split the poll's first place votes with five each but Bridgeport finished with 95 points to Daemen's 94. Bridgeport had a near perfect run through the ECC last season, finishing with a 17-1 mark in conference play. The Purple Knights also advanced to the final of the ECC Championship and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Championship. Bridgeport has to deal with the loss of their top two scorers but return a roster full of experienced players. The Purple Knights have nine players back who played at least 10 minutes per game and seven who scored at least 6.0 points per game. Among the top returnees for Bridgeport is D'Vonne Trumbo, who was an All-Conference pick after leading the league in assists a season ago.
Daemen also returns most of their roster from a season ago, including all five starters, four of whom were All-Conference honorees (Sischo, Breon Harris, Jeff Redband, Jay Sarkis). The Wildcats also get a boost with the return of Deion Hamilton. Hamilton was the Wildcat's leading scorer through 10 games before missing the final 20 games of the season. With the returning cast, Daemen has received national recognition throughout the preseason. The Wildcats come in at No. 22 in the Division II Bulletin Top 25 Preseason Poll. In addition, Daemen also received votes in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and DIISIDA Preseason Polls.
Part of the reason for the optimism about Daemen is the play of Sischo. Last year, he produced one of the top rookie seasons in the league's history. The 6-9 center finished among the league leaders in numerous categories including coming in seventh with a 15.4 point per game scoring average. He also ranked among the top three in the league with 195 field goals, a 56.5 field goal percentage, 261 total rebounds, and 8.7 rebounds per game. With his outstanding season, Sischo earned the ECC Rookie of the Year honor and a spot on the All-Conference First Team.
Three-time defending league champion, St. Thomas Aquinas comes in at No. 3 in the poll with 74 points. The Spartans are still expected to be among the league's top teams despite graduating three-time ECC Player of the Year and the league's all-time leading scorer, Justin Reyes. Molloy comes in at No. 4 right behind St. Thomas Aquinas with 73 points, while District of Columbia and Roberts Wesleyan at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, round out the teams expected to make the ECC Championship.
2018-2019 ECC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. Bridgeport (5)||95||25-6 (17-1 ECC)|
|2. Daemen (5)||94||22-8 (15-3 ECC)|
|3. St. Thomas Aquinas||74||26-7 (15-3 ECC)|
|4. Molloy||73||9-21 (7-11 ECC)|
|5. Dist. Columbia||53||7-20 (5-13 ECC)|
|6. Roberts Wesleyan||51||14-14 (7-11 ECC)|
|7. Queens||38||9-16 (7-11 ECC)|
|8. NYIT||31||5-25 (3-15 ECC)|
|9. Mercy||24||10-19 (5-13 ECC)|
|10. LIU Post||17||11-18 (9-9 ECC)|
( ) - First Place Votes
Preseason Player of the Year – Andrew Sischo, Daemen (6-9, R-So., C, Guilderland, N.Y.)