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Highlanders Basketball Named Big South Favorites in 2018-2019 Preseason Poll

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By Lucas Carr | lcarr15@radford.edu

Basketball season is right around the corner and you know what that means.

Preseason rankings!

The Big South Preseason Poll is out and guess who slid in as the number one favorite for the 2018-2019 basketball season?

That’s right, The Highlanders! They will look to duplicate last season’s successes as they were picked to finish number one overall in the Big South Conference.

Out of the 33 possible votes, Radford tallied 28 of the first-place votes. Winthrop and Hampton University came in behind them at second place and third place.

The Highlanders made a name for themselves last season as they finished with a 23-19 record and put a Big South Championship trophy in the trophy case. They were also able to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009 and capping their first ever NCAA Tourney Victory against LIU Brooklyn (71-61).

A few key players returning for the Men’s Basketball Team is senior forward Ed Polite Jr who received Big South Preseason All-Conference First-Team honors. Last season Polite Jr. led the team in points per game (13.3), rebounds (7.9) and had the highest free throw shooting percentage (72.7%). He also joined the 1000 career points club here at Radford to cap off an impressive season.

Sophomore guard Carlik Jones also received honors during the preseason as well. He made the Big South All-Conference Second-Team in second year here at Radford. Jones was a standout among Freshman last season as he was named the Big South Freshman of the Year and was an Honorable Mention on the All-Conference list of players.

Jones tallied 11.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He hopes to duplicate his production this season as we enter November.

On the coaching side of things, Howard University Alumnus Head Coach Mike Jones will be entering his eighth season with the Highlanders. Last season Jones was named the Big South Coach of the Year setting a school record with 23 wins and finishing 12-6 in conference play.

Coach Jones is proud of the team’s accomplishments last season but is prepared to make the Highlanders work hard and keep their eyes on what’s ahead of them, not behind. While last season’s accomplishments were important, Jones wants to focus on this season saying, “it isn’t about defending titles, it’s about getting better each day.”

The Highlanders welcomed Washington and Lee to the Dedmon Center for an exhibition game where they came out on top in a 75-54 victory over The Generals.

Coach Jones says he enjoys playing in early season, non-conference tournaments to challenge his team against some schools that they normally wouldn’t see during the season. Radford will participate in the Gotham Classic beginning on Friday, Nov. 9 against UIC in the Dedmon Center.

They will also face Notre Dame, Duquesne, and William and Mary in this tournament. Season and individual game tickets have been made available of RadfordTickets.com. Come out and support the Highlanders this season!

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