Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
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Zac O'Dell (above) and Swarthmore are the No. 1 team in the country this preseason. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
The Division III Power Rankings are back! Except instead of doing it myself, I called in some reinforcements, the coaches and sports information directors who know the teams best.
Our inaugural Division III Power Poll panel members hail from 15 different schools spread across each of the eight conferences that have at least one college represented in our primary coverage region, which for this poll is defined as a rectangle that spreads from Philadelphia to central Pennsylvania, up to State College, and over to the Lehigh Valley. That encompasses 32 schools spread across the following leagues: Atlantic East, Capital Athletic Conference, Centennial Conference, Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC), Landmark Conference, MAC Commonwealth, MAC Freedom and the Northeast Athletic Conference (NEAC).
This year’s voting panel: John Baron (Head Coach/Gwynedd Mercy), Justin Baxter (Head Coach/Bryn Athyn), Pat Doherty (Head Coach/Haverford), Andy Edwards (SID/Ursinus), Scott Guise (SID/York), Robert Hughes (Head Coach/Rosemont), Tim McDonald (Head Coach/Cabrini), Casey McGarvey (SID/Elizabethtown), Mike McGarvey (Head Coach/Lycoming), Laurence Messler (SID/Immaculata), Dan Mouw (SID/Eastern), Jason O’Connell (Head Coach/Cairn) Alan Seretti (Head Coach/Dickinson), Jon Tanous (Head Coach/Penn State-Abington), Adam Van Zelst (Head Coach/Arcadia)
Look for our next rankings update to come later in November, once more in December, and then every other week during January and February.
Next to each team's name is their Power Points ranking (PP) in parenthesis. We took the average of their votes with an assigned point scale (10 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, etc.). So a team with a Power Point rating of 6.5 was picked on average between 4th and 5th; a team with a power point rating of 3.1 was picked on average just above 8th place, etc.
Also receiving votes (in descending order): Messiah, Moravian, Alvernia, Penn State-Harrisburg, Cabrini, Muhlenberg, Neumann, Widener, Penn State-Abington, Dickinson.
10. Eastern Eagles (2.64 PP)
Head Coach: Dan Pruessner (1st Year, 0-0)
Last Season: 15-11, 9-5 MAC Freedom. MAC Freedom Semifinals
Key Returners: Michael Bowlers Sr./F(14 ppg 9.1 rpg) Victor Peña Sr./ F (13.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg) William Blet Jr./ F (8.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) Draig Ruff So./G (8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Key Departures: Darius Washington (15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) Austin Duncan (12.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Notable Additions: Sam Gallardo, (Fr./G), Adola Adeniyi (Fr./F) Jaron Fairweather (Fr./F)
Notes: Prussner takes over from Eric McNelley, who stepped down after last season to focus on his duties as the school's athletics director. Peña (6-6, 255) was a first-team All-Conference player as a sophomore and junior, suffered a season-ending injury eight games into his senior year. Bowlers (6-8, 250) became the Eagles’ primary inside threat after that injury. Those two, teamed with Blet (6-8, 230) should give the Eagles one of the bigger Division III front courts in the area. Team lost in MAC Freedom Semifinals at Wilkes last spring.
9. Franklin & Marshall Diplomats (3.07)
Head Coach: Nick Nichay, 1st season (0-0)
Last Season: 15-11 (9-9 Centennial), lost in CC playoffs
Key Returners: Justin Kupa, Jr./G (14.8 ppg, 2.5 apg), Matt Redhead, Jr./G (11.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Les Thomas Jr./G (7.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Solomon Mathis Soph./G (7.1 ppg, 1.0 apg), Ignas Slyka, Sr./G-F (5.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Mike Rice, Sr./G (3.0 ppg, 2.0 apg), Zach Ravitz, Jr./F-C (3.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
Key Departures: J.C. McGrath (10.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg)
Notable Additions: Travis Cumber (Fr./G), Justin Law (Fr./G), Mark Suchy (Fr./F)
Notes: The Diplomats got quite a shock when Robinson, one of the most decorated head coaches in Division III history and it’s all-time victories leader (967-359, .729), announced his retirement on Nov. 5, thrusting Nichay into the interim head coaching role after seven years as an F&M assistant. He’ll have plenty to work with –– seven of the top eight scorers from a year ago are back, though they’ll need to replace the rebounding of McGrath.
Da'kquan Davis (above) and Arcadia start off the year No. 8 in the Power Poll. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
8. Arcadia University (3.29)
Head Coach: Adam Van Zelst, 1st season (0-0)
2018-19 Record: 23-6 (14-2 MAC Commonwealth); 1st, MAC Commonwealth; lost in NCAA Tournament Second Round (Marietta)
Key Returners: Da'kquan Davis, Jr./G (16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Will Derr, Sr./F (2.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Steve Pendleton, Sr./G (6.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Key Departures: Phil Pierfy (13.0 PPG, 6.0 PPG), Josh Scott (13.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG), Evan Slone (10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG), Jon Lott (4.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG)
Notable Additions: Jacob Walsh (Jr./C), Justin Money (Fr./G), Jalen Watkins (Fr./F), Johaan Vinson (Fr./G)
Notes: Arcadia enters 2019-20 season under first-year head coach Adam Van Zelst, coming off its first MAC Commonwealth title and trip to the NCAA Tournament a season ago; former head coach Justin Scott is now an assistant at D-I St. Joe's. Davis, a junior out of Roman Catholic, is getting early mention as a potential Division III All-American. They’ll get help from Walsh in the middle and Money, who will play a big role off the bench.
7. Cairn Highlanders (3.36)
Head Coach: Jason O’Connell, 6th season (46-81, .568)
Last Season: 18-9, 10-2 CSAC Record, Lost in CSAC Championship
Key Returners: Malachi Hall (16.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.4 apg) Julian Collazo (14.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.4 apg) Jeremiah Harris (14.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
Key Departures: Jordan Koczman (13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) Josh Decker (8.4 ppg, 70 3PM)
Notable Additions: Wes Murray (Freshman, Forward) Josh Forker (Freshman, Forward)
Notes: The Highlanders return Julian Collazo (CSAC Player of the Year, D3 Hoops 2nd Team All-Atlantic Region, DIII News Preseason All-American), Malachi Hall (CSAC Defensive Player of the Year), and Jeremiah Harris (CSAC Honorable Mention). Return their top three scorers and four of five starters. Look for steps forward and an expanded role from second year players Jesse Rivera and Dashaun Cain as the Highlanders continue their rise under O’Connell.
6. Susquehanna River Hawks (3.40)
Head Coach: Frank Marcinek, 31st season (433-330, .568)
Last Season: 16-10 (9-5 Landmark), Lost in Landmark Semifinals
Key Returners: Dominic Dunn, Soph./F (11.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Matt LaCorte, Jr./G (11.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Zach Knect, Sr./F (10.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Bryce Butler, Jr./G (9.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Danny Frauenheim Soph./G (6.6 ppg)
Key Departures: Seth Callahan (9.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Tyler Hoagland (8.1 ppg)
Notable Additions: Jack Van Syckle (Soph./F)
Notes: The Mountain Hawks, under the direction of their longtime head coach, return their top three scorers and four of their top five from a year ago. The roster is stocked full of sophomores and juniors with plenty of experience under their belts, though the 5-11 Callahan and 5-10 Hoagland do take a lot of leadership out the door with them. How good can Dunn, a versatile 6-5 forward out of Camden Catholic, rise after a successful freshman year?
Ryan McTamney (above) leads an experienced Ursinus core. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
5. Ursinus Bears (3.43)
Head Coach: Kevin Small, 20th season (277-223, .554)
Last Season: 17-11, 12-6 CoBL Conference; Lost in CoBL Conference Final
Key Returners: Ryan McTamney, Sr./G (17.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg); Ryan Hughes, So./G (9.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg); George Gordon, Jr./F (8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Lucas Olshevski, Jr./F (5.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Bruce Edwards, Jr./G (4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Key Departures: Eric Williams Jr. (16.2 ppg), Shane Stark (10.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
Notable Additions: Jimmy Kpadeh (Freshman/National Christian Academy, Md.), Brian Basile (Freshman, Germantown Academy, Pa.), Trey Koehler (Freshman, Abington Heights HS, Pa.), Matt McMahon (Sophomore, La Salle College HS, Pa.)
Notes: McTamney, a La Salle College HS earned second team All-Centennial Conference selection a year ago and enters his season just 71 points shy of 1,000 for his career. The Bears have made the Centennial Conference semifinals each of the last three seasons, losing twice to Swarthmore and a year ago to Johns Hopkins. Likely a condensed rotation this year, featuring six or seven regulars with plenty of experience.
4. Gwynedd Mercy Griffins (5.14)
Head Coach: John Baron, 18th Season (317-152, .676)
Last Season: 20-9, (9-3 Atlantic East), Atlantic East Champions, NCAA Tournament 2nd round
Key Returners: Rich Dunham, Sr./G (16.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 spg), Donaven Spencer, Jr./G (2.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Jeff Seigafuse Sr./G (8.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg)
Key Departures: Courtney Cubbage (16.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Clayton Wolfe (13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 4.0 apg), Matt Sommers (6.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 38 3FGM)
Notable Additions: Austin Harriott (Senior/Bloomsburg), Myles Bunion (Junior/Bloomsburg), Steve Marvin (Soph./Clarks Summit)
Notes: The Griffins won the inaugural Atlantic East conference championship, then won a game in the NCAA Tournament to reach the 20-win mark again under Baron’s successful reign. Despite losing some key pieces, including the super-versatile Cubbage and Wolfe, expectations are still strong for Gwynedd Mercy thanks to the Bloomsburg arrivals as well as a few others.
3. DeSales Bulldogs (8.07)
Head Coach: Scott Coval, 27th year (477-235, .670)
Last Season: 21-7 overall (12-2 MAC Freedom); Tournament and Regular Season Champions in MAC Freedom; Lost in First Round of NCAA Tournament
Key Returners: Matt Kachelries, Jr./G (11.4 ppg; 6.1 apg; 6.0 rpg); Tracy Simsick, Sr./G (14.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg); Ben Pratt, Sr./G (7.6 ppg; 3.67 apg); Julian Wing, Sr./G (6.9 ppg; 3.9 rpg); Mike Bealer, Jr./G (6.2 ppg); Keba Mitchell, Soph./F (6.1 ppg; 4.0 rpg)
Key Departures: Luke Connaghan (12.5 ppg; 6.7 rpg)
Notable Additions: Kweku Dawson-Amoah (Returns after one year off, 1st-team All-Conference two years ago)
Notes: With the entire rotation back from last year with the exception of Connaghan, expectations are high for a program that won 20-plus games yet again and made it to the NCAAs for the fifth time in program history under Coval, who’s been steadily moving up the D-III all-time wins list in pursuit of the Top 50.
2. York (Pa.) Spartans (8.14)
Head Coach: Matt Hunter, 8th season (90-97, .481)
Last Season: 22-8 overall (12-2 Capital Athletic Conference); Tied for regular season championship with CNU; Lost @ CNU in CAC Championship game; lost to Randolph-Macon in NCAA Round of 32
Key Returners: Jared Wagner, Sr./G (14.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.6 spg); Joe Polczynski, Sr./F (11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.2 apg); Darin Gordon, Sr./G (10.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg), David Giuliani, Jr./F (3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg); Zach Novick, Sr./F (7.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
Key Departures: Jason Bady, Guard (18.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.6 apg - CAC Player of the Year); Mike Frauenheim, Guard (5.6 ppg, 3.9 apg)
Notable Additions: Tristan Kent, Fr. Forward (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty HS); Logan Collins, Fr. Guard (Hanover, Pa./Littlestown)
Notes: Coming off that second-round NCAA appearance, the Spartans will rely on Wagner, a returning second-team All-CAC guard. The back-to-back Capital Athletic Conference regular season championships, they’ve been picked second this preseason behind Christopher Newport. York has made back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, going 46-13 including 26-6 in the CAC.
1. Swarthmore Garnet (10.00)
Head Coach: Landry Kosmalski, 8th season (125-73, .631)
Last Season: 29-4, 15-3 Centennial; Won CC title, NCAA Finalist
Key Returners: Zac O'Dell Sr./F (13.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg); Conor Harkins, Jr./G (13.0 ppg, 44.4 3PT%, 86.4 FT%), George Visconti, Soph./G (11.6 ppg), Nate Shafer, Sr./F (8.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.2 bpg)
Key Departures: Cam Wiley (All-American; 15.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.1 spg)
Notable Additions: Major Eason (Fr./G), Chuck Sweat (Fr./SF), Vinny DeAngelo (Fr./G), Michael Caprise (Fr./F)
Notes: The no-doubt No. 1 in the rankings, Swarthmore is ranked No. 1 nationally by D3Hoops.com in their national poll. Can’t say enough about what Landry Kosmalski has done, taken a hoops program that always was in the bottom half of the Centennial and turning it into a powerhouse in just eight years. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament each of the last three, going further each time –– including a run to the national championship game this spring. Despite losing All-American guard Wiley, they’ve got the pieces to make yet another deep run come March.