Senior Brian Hamor (center) and the Skyhawks will look to celebrate another NE-10 Championship in 2012-13.
Reigning NE-10 and East Regional Champions open Nov. 10 against Chestnut Hill
EASTON, Mass. (October 30, 2012) – Stonehill College has been picked third in the Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball preseason coaches' poll the league released on Monday.
Stonehill, ranked 12th in the Division II Bulletin preseason national poll released earlier this month, are among the Northeast-10 favorites after capturing both the NE-10 Tournament and NCAA Division II East Regional championships last winter. The Skyhawks are one of five teams that received a first place vote by the NE-10's 16 head coaches with four – the second highest behind preseason favorites Franklin Pierce University's nine (213 points).
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, who Stonehill defeated 73-61 in last year's NE-10 championship game, is picked second with 201 points and one first place vote. Stonehill is third with 195 points, with Adelphi University fourth (174) and a first place vote and Bentley University fifth (158) and the remaining first place vote.
Senior Adam Fazzini returns after leading the NE-10 in three-point shooting percentage last season. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Stonehill, under the direction of head coach David McLaughlin, the program's all-time leader in wins with 178, in his tenth season, returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad that posted a 25-9 record overall, including a 15-7 mark in NE-10 play. The Skyhawks finished third in the NE-10 regular season standings, but caught fire in the postseason by winning ten straight games (including its final three in the regular season) to reach the national semifinals at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Ky.
Senior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons), the Most Outstanding Player at the East Regional, leads the list of returnees for Stonehill after earning All-Northeast-10 second team honors last season. He enters his final season just 58 points shy of becoming the program's 36th 1,000 point scorer after averaging a team-best 14.3 points per game last season on 40.5-percent shooting from the field, including 36.5% (57-for-156) from three-point range, to go with 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Senior point guard Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) and sophomore Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) round out the list of returning starters for the Skyhawks. Markle has dished out over 300 assists in his career, averaging 3.9 per game last season, while Cole made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Skyhawks, starting 33 of the 34 games and contributing 5.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.6 blocked shots per contest. Stonehill will also get a major contribution again from senior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) who led the team with 9.0 points off the bench last season in a valuable sixth man role, shooting a team-best 46.2-percent (72-for-156) from three-point range.
Stonehill won its first NE-10 Tournament Championship since 1989 last winter and then claimed its second East Regional title with a 75-70 victory over Bloomfield College. The Skyhawks upset 3rd-ranked West Liberty University in a national quarterfinal at the Elite Eight, 91-90, before falling to eventual national champions and 12th-ranked Western Washington University in the semifinals, 71-66.
Stonehill opens its 2012-13 season on Saturday, November 10, when it hosts Chestnut Hill College at Merkert Gym at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks NE-10 opener is slated for Wednesday, November 14, at home against Saint Anselm College at 7:30 p.m. Seven of Stonehill's first ten games this season will be at home leading up to the New Year.