The University of Sioux Falls men's basketball team was slotted to finish 11th overall and eighth in the South Division in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll announced by the league office on Thursday.
“I don’t put a lot of thought into preseason polls, it only matters how you finish,” said head coach Chris Johnson. “This is a great league and we have to earn our respect, that’s how it should be.”
USF received earned 85 points in the poll.
Winona State was picked to win the conference with 219 points and 10 first-place votes. The Warriors were also selected as the favorites in the South Division poll, earning 48 points and six first-place votes.
Southwest Minnesota State was picked second overall and in the south earning 209 points and four first-place votes. Minnesota State was third with 185, St. Cloud State fourth with 174 and MSU Moorhead fifth with 170 points and a first place vote. The Dragons were also picked to win the North Division earning five first-place votes and 46 points.
Augustana was picked sixth and received the final first-place vote. The Vikings followed by Minnesota Duluth (139), Northern State (133), Concordia-St. Paul (105), Wayne State (102), USF (85), Bemidji State (72), Upper Iowa (72), U-Mary (53), Minot State (26) and Minnesota, Crookston (21).
Winona State senior Clayton Vette was tabbed as the South Division Player of the Year and MSU Moorhead's Alex Novak was the North Division's Player of the Year pick.
Senior forward David Maxwell was named as USF’s “Player to Watch.” The Parkston native returns for his senior season after averaging 8.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 25 starts last year. Following a rocky start, Maxwell heated up in the final five games where he shot an impressive 61% from the field and 67% from beyond the arc to average 13.2 points per game. He truly saved the best for last, charting a season-high 16 points, eight rebounds, and one steal against Lindenwood in the championship game of the NCAA Transitional Tournament en route to all-tournament honors. He finished 2011 ranked second on the team in assists, made free throws and steals.