BAY CITY, Mich. - Hoops season is right around the corner and the results are in for the 2017-18 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll along with the All-GLIAC Preseason Awards as voted on by the league's coaches. The Ferris State Bulldogs are the favorite in the North Division with the Ashland Eagles holding court in the South Division.
Lake Superior State sits No. 2 in the preseason North Division balloting as the Lakers return senior guard Akaemji Williams and his 21.5 points per contest, including a league-best 7.9 assists per game. In addition, Williams was also named to the GLIAC North Division Preseason All-Conference team.
The Lakers, under head coach Steve Hettinga, started the year with an exhibition game against Cornerstone University on Monday, October 23rd, defeating the Golden Eagles 79-64. Lake State faces Indiana Tech on Saturday, October 28th in a second exhibition at 5 p.m. in the Bud Cooper Gymnasium.
Last year, the Lakers went 16-10 overall and 13-8 in the conference, finishing second in the GLIAC North Division behind Ferris State. In the GLIAC Tournament, the Lakers fell to Ashland 84-81, and just missed out on the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Returning to the Lakers for their senior campaigns are Akaemji Williams, Mike Nicholson, Josh Goldschmidt and Lance Monroe. Williams and Nicholson have started all three years at LSSU to this point, while Goldschmidt was a starter last season.
On what his seniors will bring to the squad this year, Hettinga said "leadership and certainly experience. It's really tough to win in this conference and compete in this conference with underclassmen. The fact that Williams, Mike Nicholson and now Josh Goldschmidt have all been starters, we have a lot of experience coming back. Hopefully, those can be the guys who can carry us, because that's was seniors are supposed to do. Within the confines of those guys is a very special player in Akaemji Williams, who is arguably one of the best point guards in the country, so we like all four of our seniors and expect good things from them."
Four freshmen join the ranks this season, including guard Sam Cornett, Jr., forward Rog Stein and center Jackson Schrameyer, who redshirted last season. Joining them is guard Brandon Allen, who transferred to Lake Superior from Western Michigan.
The final additions to this year's team are two new assistant coaches in Rodney Clarke and Ted Stowe. Clarke was an assistant men's basketball coach at his alma mater the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., from 2013 to 2017. Stowe was a student assistant coach at Spring Arbor (Mich.) University from 2012 to 2017, will also serve as head coach of the Lakers' junior varsity men's basketball team.
"These guys bring in some different experiences," said Hettinga on his new coaches. "They've played under and worked under different coaches and bring some fresh ideas, which is great for me, having essentially the same staff for the last four or five years. Mixed in with a new guy here and there, I always had a constant guy with me the last ten years, so it's different and I've embraced hearing their ideas. They both have great passion for the game and are great people. Our guys have really taken to both of them."
The regular season for the Lakers begins on Saturday, November 11th with a game against Alderson Broaddus in Detroit as part of the G-MAC/GLIAC Battler Classic. The GLIAC slate begins on November 30th at home against Ashland. Tickets for home basketball games may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or at lssulakers.com/tickets.
Below are the selections for preseason all-conference awards:
2017 GLIAC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams
Zach Hankins - Ferris State (Preseason Player of the Year)
Kyle Monroe - Michigan Tech
Akaemji Williams - Lake Superior State
Drew Cushingberry - Ferris State
Naba Echols - Northern Michigan
Wendell Davis - Ashland
Chuck Key - Wayne State
Austin Adams - Tiffin
Marsalis Hamilton - Ashland
Marcus Moore - Wayne State
To view the full release, go to: http://www.gliac.org/polls/mbkb/2017-18/index