MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team is a preseason pick to finish in fourth place in the Big South Conference’s South Division according to the league’s preseason panel. The conference announced its preseason poll and preseason honors this afternoon at the league’s annual media day.
Defending South Division champion Charleston Southern was the preseason pick to win the South again and win the 2014 Big South Conference championship. CSU was followed by Gardner-Webb, Coastal Carolina, UNC Asheville, Winthrop and Presbyterian College.
First-year coach Nick McDevitt wasn’t surprised where the Bulldogs were picked this year.
“I think that’s fair and about where I thought we would be picked,” commented McDevitt. “We hope to prove the experts wrong before the year is over but we’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to league play.”
“We’ve really worked hard in practice, and I’m happy to see how we’re progressing,” stated McDevitt. “Our guys are getting better every day.”
Asheville returns two starters from last year’s club in senior guard Trent Meyer (9.7 ppg, 125 assists, 64 steals) and sophomore forward Will Weeks (9.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 59.4 FG%). Weeks was named to the Big South All-Freshman team a year ago.
Also returning is red-shirt senior Jaron Lane. He missed last year due to an ankle injury. The 6-4 forward was the sixth man for the Bulldogs during their Big South championship teams in 2011 and 2012. He averaged 11.5 ppg two years and scored 16 points in Asheville’s near upset of top-seeded Syracuse in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs play their only exhibition game against Brevard College at Kimmel Arena on Monday, Nov. 4 starting at 7 p.m. Asheville opens the regular season at national power Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by FoxSportSouth.
2013-14 Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
North Division (first-place votes) -- Points
1. High Point (25) -- 175
2. Liberty (3) -- 137
3. Radford -- 104
4. VMI (2) -- 93
5. Campbell -- 78
6. Longwood -- 43
South Division (first-place votes) -- Points
1. Charleston Southern (28) -- 177
2. Gardner-Webb -- 117
3. Coastal Carolina (2) -- 115
4. UNC Asheville -- 99
5. Winthrop -- 90
6. Presbyterian College -- 32
Note: points are based on a weighted system. First-place votes in each division received 6 points, followed by 5 points for second-place, and so on.