The Central Connecticut men's basketball team was picked fifth in the Preseason Northeast Conference Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. The announcement was made at the Second Annual NEC 'Social' Media Day held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
In addition, junior guard Kyle Vinales, the quickest player to reach 1,000 points in CCSU history, was a unanimous selection for the Preseason All-Conference Team. Vinales scored a school-record 649 points last season and has averaged 19.8 points per game in his first two seasons in New Britain.
Wagner was picked first in the preseason poll, followed by a tie for second place for Robert Morris and Bryant. LIU Brooklyn was picked fourth, followed by CCSU, Mount St. Mary's, St. Francis Brooklyn, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis U and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Vinales is one of two unanimous picks for the All-Conference team. Alex Francis from Bryant is the other. Also on the preseason squad are Jason Brickman (LIU Brooklyn), Jalen Cannon (St. Francis Brooklyn) and Dyami Starks (Bryant).
Vinales leads a strong group of returning players for the Blue Devils. Senior Matt Hunter (15.7 ppg) is the leading returning rebounder after averaging 7.7 points per game. He also generated 78 steals to finish among the nation's leaders in that category.
Junior captain Malcolm McMillan averaged 8.2 points and dished out 106 assists in his sophomore campaign. He has started 58 of 59 career games played in New Britain. With only 42 turnovers in 30 games McMillan was among the nation's leader in assist-turnover ratio.
The Blue Devils open the season on Saturday night, Nov. 9 vs. Yale in the Annual Connecticut 6 Classic. This year the game will be played in the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport and wiull tip at 5:30 p.m.