Oct. 23, 2008
Photo Gallery | Patriot League Release
BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Navy men's basketball team was picked sixth in the 2008-09 preseason Patriot League poll announced Thursday at the Patriot League's Media Day at the ESPNZone in Baltimore. In addition, junior Chris Harris was selected to the preseason all-Patriot League first team, one of five players named to the squad. Voting was done by the league's coaches and sports information directors and representatives could not vote for their own team.
Head coach Billy Lange and senior guard Kaleo Kina (Phoenix, Ariz.) were Navy's representatives at the gathering.
The Mids are coming off a 16-14 overall record a year ago, while finishing with a 9-5 mark in league play, good for second in the final standings. Head coach Billy Lange welcomes back four starters and over 70 percent of its scoring from last year. Lange must find a way to replace 2008 Player of the Year Greg Sprink, but feels that the pieces are in place for another oustanding season.
"We have great respect for our league and it is going to be another fantastic year in terms of competitive balance," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Everyday in practice, our motivation is to try and be a competitor in the Patriot League. Our non-conference schedule will be challenging, but we all agree that the non-conference schedule is a 15-game warm-up for a 14-game battle from January to early March. Our league is very tough. We might not boast the most future pros, but on a competitive nature, it is as competitive as there is anywhere. Every game comes to the wire, and that is reflected in the preseason poll. You could make an argument for every team in the league to win the title."
"We can't focus on the preseason rankings and make sure we prepare ourselves every day for the Patriot League season. Hopefully, we can gain a little respect and keep us near the top of the Patriot League standings," said Navy senior guard Kaleo Kina
. "This is such a competitive league that you have to come play every night. With us losing Sprink, coaches might be a little unsure of what to expect of us."
American, last year's regular-season and tournament champions, was a unanimous selection to repeat, gathering every possible first-place vote (14) and totaling 98 points. The Eagles were followed by Lehigh (75 points), Holy Cross (two first-place votes and 68 points), Colgate (67), Bucknell (47), Navy (46), Army (29) and Lafayette (18).
Navy was picked seventh in last year's poll and wound up second, while American was selected fifth and finished in first place.
Harris, a 6-2, 185-pound guard from Mechanicsville, Va., received preseason first-team accolades after garnering second-team honors last year as a sophomore. Harris had one of the finest sophomore seasons in school history, averaging 14.5 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.6 rpg and 1.9 spg while connecting on a school-record 91 three-pointers last season. In league play, the junior averaged 17.6 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.5 rpg and 2.0 spg with 53 three-pointers. He was the only player to rank in the top 10 of eight different statistical categories and enters his junior season as the fourth-leading returning scorer and fifth-leading returning assist man in the Patriot League.
Harris, the tallest player on the preseason team at 6-2, was joined on the first team by a slew of undersized guards. American's Garrison Carr (5-11) and Derrick Mercer (5-8), Lafayette's Andrew Brown (5-11) and Lehigh's Marquis Hall (6-0) were all named to the first team. Carr was selected as the preseason Player of the Year after averaging 18.4 ppg last year.
Navy opens the season on Nov. 14, at Towson with tip time slated for 7:30 pm. The Mids' home opener will be Nov. 16, against Howard, beginning at 1:00 pm. For ticket information, please call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #