Photo by William Roberts
RICHARDSON, Texas- The UMHB men’s basketball team has been picked to win a second straight ASC title.
On Wednesday, the ASC released its preseason poll, selected by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. It comes as no surprise that UMHB, a program that finished No. 7 in last year’s D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll and claimed both the ASC’s regular season and tournament championships, earned a great deal of respect from the voters in the poll. The Crusaders picked up 199 points, including 19 of the 20 available first-place votes, and had 37 more points than LeTourneau, who was picked second.
The Cru and YellowJackets played in the ASC title game last February, and were rightfully selected No. 1 and No. 2. Hardin-Simmons was third, with 153 points, edging UT-Dallas, who tallied 152 points, and the only first-place vote not awarded to UMHB. Rounding out the top five was ETBU, with 126 points.
The complete ASC Preseason Poll is below (points in parentheses):
1. Mary Hardin-Baylor (199)
2. LeTourneau (162) 22-5 (15-4)
3. Hardin-Simmons (153)
4. UT Dallas (152)
5. East Texas Baptist (126)
6. Concordia Texas (85)
7. McMurry (79)
8. Sul Ross State (65)
9. Ozarks (41)
10. Howard Payne (38)
Additionally, three of UMHB’s returners were named to the ASC’s “Preseason Watch List”, as Josiah Johnson, Ty Prince, and Luke Feely were recognized.
The ASC’s Player of the Year in 2021-22, Johnson returns for his third season with the program as a guard. He ranked seventh in D-III in points per game a year ago, averaging 24.4, despite multiple games in which he was double-teamed for the vast majority of the contest. The Big Sandy, Texas native shot 44.9 percent from the field, and an exceptional 88 percent from the free-throw line.
Prince, an All-Region honoree last season, was the ASC Tournament’s MVP, and played a key role in UMHB’s offensive success. He averaged 17.1 points per game, recording six double-doubles, and led the Cru with 138 assists.
In his first year with the program last season, Feely anchored UMHB’s frontcourt, and led the team with 6.2 rebounds per game. He also averaged double figures in scoring, at 11.5 points per game.
UMHB tips off the 2022-23 season in a road duel at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Nov. 8.