ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tipped off the opening week of Division III basketball on Monday when it released the 2017-18 Preseason Coaches Poll for men's basketball, in which Penn State Altoona was selected fifth place.
La Roche College, which tied for second place in the AMCC last season, was picked to finish first in the poll. Penn State Behrend, which also tied for second last year, came in second place in the poll. Defending champion Medaille College was voted into third place, and Hilbert College came in fourth place.
Penn State Altoona was fourth in the AMCC during the 2016-17 season. The Lions recorded their best conference record (12-6) in team history, tied the program’s single season wins record (14), made their deepest AMCC Tournament run in nine years, and earned their second-ever berth into the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Championship Tournament. Led by second-year head coach David McGreal, the Lions will hope to build off of last season's success.
Named as "Players to Watch" in the poll were senior guard/forward Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) and senior forward Dequan Jackson (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins CTE).
Nance made a splash in the AMCC last season, his first as a member of Penn State Altoona men's basketball after transferring to the campus from Snead State Community College. Nance was a second team All-AMCC pick, averaging 14.5 points per game and posting four 20-point games against conference opponents.
Jackson is entering his first year with Penn State Altoona, as the senior spent his freshman season at Penn State Worthington Scranton and his sophomore and junior campaigns at Penn State Abington. Jackson has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his collegiate career, and he was a second team All-North Eastern Athletic Conference selection in 2014-15, when he led the NEAC in scoring with 19.6 points per game.
Penn State Altoona men's basketball opens its 2017-18 season at home this Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. against regional non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College in the new Adler Arena.