Marshfield, Mass.- The Dean College Bulldogs were picked fifth in Thursday's 2018-19 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll. Under the guidance of fifth year head coach Rico Cabral, the Bulldogs looked to build on a successful 2017-18 campaign that saw them register a 9-5 conference record and finish third in the regular season standings.
Defending champion Southern Vermont College and new NECC member tied for first place with 54 total votes. Mitchell College and Becker College filled in the third and fourth place slots with 48 and 41 votes respectively. Dean garnered 39 votes in their fifth place showing while Eastern Nazarene, Newbury, Elms, and Lesley rounded out the bottom half of the voting.
Dean returns all five players from last year's starting lineup, including all-NECC guard Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.) Booker finished seventh in the conference last year with 18.0 points per game. Dayvon Russell (Naugatuck, Conn.) returns for his senior season after averaging 13.6 points per game and 3.4 assists per game in 2017-18. Fellow senior Armani Baker (Pawtucket, R.I) returns to the squad after a terrific 2017-18 season in which he averaged a double-double (12.1 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game). Double digit scorers Randolf Thurman (Swampscott, Mass.) and Josh Croskey (Union, N.J.) also return from last year's starting lineup as well as Brandon Szlaien (Buenos Aires, Argentina) who played pivotal minutes off the bench a year ago.
Nine freshman and four transfers will compete for playing time as the Bulldogs enter their season with a 22 man roster.
The season opener is set for Thursday, November 15th at Emmanuel College. Tip off will be at 7:30 p.m.