Somerset, NJ -- Led by three returning starters, including a preseason all-NEC pick, defending tournament champion Monmouth has been tabbed as the 2006-07 NEC men’s basketball preseason favorite, according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. The preseason rankings, along with the league’s preseason all-conference team, were announced during a media teleconference with coaches this afternoon as a prelude to the NEC’s 26th season.
Looking to become the first league team since Rider in 1993 and 1994 to repeat as NEC champion, Monmouth earned six first place votes from league head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own team. The Hawks narrowly edged out Robert Morris, which received the remaining five first place votes. With all five starters back, Long Island was chosen third, followed by Central Connecticut State and Quinnipiac tied for fourth. Wagner was picked sixth, while defending NEC regular season champion Fairleigh Dickinson landed in seventh. Rounding out the poll were St. Francis (NY) in eighth, followed in order by Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary’s and Saint Francis (PA).
This year marks the eighth time that Monmouth has been selected the NEC’s preseason favorite by league head coaches, the most in conference history by a wide margin. Of the seven previous occasions in which Monmouth was picked first, the only one that resulted in an NEC title came in 1996 when the Hawks defeated preseason co-favorite Rider, 60-59.
Northeast Conference 2006-07 Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Monmouth (6)
2. Robert Morris (5)
3. Long Island
4. Central Connecticut St.
7. Fairleigh Dickinson
8. St. Francis (NY)
9. Sacred Heart
10. Mount St. Mary’s
11. Saint Francis (PA)
2006-07 Northeast Conference Preseason All-Conference Team
Name School Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
Marques Alston Monmouth F 6-4 230 Sr Neptune, NJ
Jarrid Frye Sacred Heart G 6-4 190 Sr Maspeth, NY
A.J. Jackson Robert Morris F 6-6 230 Sr Monessen, PA
Obie Nwadike CCSU F 6-4 224 Sr Jersey City
James Williams Long Island G 5-10 185 Sr DeSoto, TX