Vikings Selected to Repeat as GNAC Champions

Oct. 31, 2017

GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll | NABC Preseason NCAA II Rankings

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – After winning both the conference’s regular season and tournament titles a year ago, Western Washington University is picked to win it all again in the 2017-18 edition of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll, announced Tuesday afternoon from the conference office in Portland, Ore.

WWU also earned a preseason national ranking of No. 22 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll. The Vikings are also listed No. 16 in the Basketball Times NCAA II preseason top 20 ranking.
The Vikings, who finished with a 25-6 record and a 17-3 GNAC mark, received 7 of 11 first-place votes from conference coaches for a total of 116 points. Western Oregon, the 2015-16 GNAC regular season and tournament champion, is picked second with 108 points after picking up three first-place votes.

2017-18 GNAC PRESEASON MEN’S BASKETBALL POLL

Pos.

Team (1st Place Votes)

2016-17 Overall Record

GNAC Record (Finish)

Points

1.

Western Washington (7)

25-6

17-3 (1st)

116

2.

Western Oregon (3)

18-13

13-7 (3rd)

108

3.

Central Washington (1)

14-12

9-11 (T6th)

91

4.

Alaska Anchorage

21-8

15-5 (T2nd)

90

5.

Seattle Pacific

12-16

8-12 (9th)

85

6.

Saint Martin's

17-13

10-10 (T4th)

53

7.

Alaska

13-16

8-12 (10th)

48

8.

Northwest Nazarene

12-16

9-11 (T6th)

42

9.

Concordia

14-14

10-10 (T4th)

41

10.

Montana State Billings

14-15

9-11 (T6th )

34

11.

Simon Fraser

4-24

2-18 (11th)

18

Votes awarded on a 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis

The Vikings are coming off a dominating offensive season in 2016-17, leading the league and ranking 15th in NCAA II averaging 88.1 points per game. WWU also led the conference in field goal percentage (.493), three-point percentage (.401) and free throw percentage (.783), ranking in the top-25 nationally in all three categories.
While the loss of GNAC Player of the Year and First Team All-American Taylor Stafford and program all-time leading scorer Jeffrey Parker will be felt, the Vikings return four other starters and three of their top five scorers. Senior forward Deandre Dickson (Easton, CA/Bakersfield College), sophomore forward Daulton Hommes (Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian) and junior guard Trey Drechsel (Woodinville, WA/Cedar Park Christian) all earned GNAC Preseason All-Conference honors. Dickson is the Vikings top returning scorer having averaged 14.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and led the Vikings with a .620 field goal percentage. Hommes, named Honorable Mention All-GNAC as a redshirt freshman, led the GNAC in three-point shooting (.479) and averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Drechsel also earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors after averaging 9.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game before a season-ending injury.
Additional returning starters include senior guard Blake Fernandez (Mountlake Terrace, WA/Edmonds CC) at point guard after a junior campaign that saw him average 4.7 points per game and started the final 15 games of the season. Junior 7-foot center Logan Schilder (Bellingham, WA/Whatcom CC) started all 31 games a year ago, ranking among the national leaders with 59 blocked shots.
The Vikings close out the preseason hosting Quest in an exhibition game on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7 pm on WECU Court at Carver Gym, before starting the regular-season schedule with the PacWest/GNAC Challenge in Bellingham on Nov. 10-11. The Vikings officially open the 2017-18 season against Notre Dame de Namur on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 pm and face Hawai’i Hilo the following evening on Nov. 11 at 7:30 pm.
The PacWest/GNAC Challenge marks the start of a stretch of eight consecutive home games for WWU to begin the regular season. GNAC play opens Nov. 30 hosting Concordia University. The complete 2017-18 schedule can be viewed online at WWUVikings.com.
Here is a look at the national preseason rankings with the Vikings listed No. 22 in the NABC top 25 and No. 16 in the Basketball Times top 20 poll.

2017-18 NABC Division II Preseason Poll

1.

Northwest Missouri State (15)

35-1

399

1

2.

Queens, N.C. (1)

30-4

374

6

3.

Bellarmine

32-4

351

2

4.

Lincoln Memorial

30-6

324

15

5.

St. Thomas Aquinas

28-6

308

NR

6.

Indiana (PA)

28-4

304

8

7.

Chico State

26-8

297

NR

8.

Shippensburg

27-4

254

9

9.

Colorado Mines

30-5

236

11

10.

Ferris State

28-5

230

14

11.

UT-Permian Basin

26-6

216

17

12.

Barry

23-7

210

NR

13.

Rollins

24-11

194

NR

14.

California Baptist

26-5

180

13

15.

Southwest Minnesota State

28-6

159

18

16.

Fort Lewis

26-7

134

23

17.

West Liberty

28-4

117

7

18.

Merrimack

19-12

88

NR

19.

Wheeling Jesuit

25-8

83

NR

20.

Findlay

25-7

72

25

21.

West Texas A&M

26-9

67

NR

22.

Western Washington

25-6

63

12

23.

Arkansas-Monticello

23-7

51

NR

24.

Kentucky Wesleyan

28-3

46

5

25.

Delta State

23-9

45

NR

Records are final from 2016-17 season. Last ranking from final 2016-17 poll

 

Basketball Times NCAA Division II Preseason Top 20

1.

Northwest Missouri State

35-1

2.

Queens

30-4

3.

Bellarmine

32-4

4.

Indiana (PA)

28-4

5.

Texas-Permian Basin

26-6

6.

Lincoln Memorial

30-6

7.

Ferris State

28-5

8.

St. Thomas Aquinas

28-6

9.

California Baptist

26-5

10.

Arkansas Tech

21-8

11.

Barry

23-7

12.

West Liberty State

28-4

13.

Chico State

26-8

14.

Shippensburg

27-4

15.

Indianapolis

16-12

16.

Western Washington

25-6

17.

Findlay

25-7

18.

Fairmont State

34-3

19.

Arkansas-Fort Smith

23-11

20.

Merrimack

19-12


About WWU Basketball:
One of the premier basketball programs in NCAA Division II, recording a 20-win season in seven of the last nine seasons. WWU is a six-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion and has appeared in the NCAA II Elite 8 three times. The Vikings won the 2011-12 NCAA Division II National Championship and advanced the following season to the NCAA II Final Four. Western is coming off a 2016-17 season where the program went 25-6, winning the GNAC regular season and conference championships title, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Championships. The program enters its 116th season, having combined for 1,458 victories and a .589 winning percentage.

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