UND Men's BB 7th in Summit League preseason poll

UND Men's BB 7th in Summit League preseason poll Click to Enlarge

With just over a month remaining from the start of the 2018-19 season, The Summit League has announced the annual preseason poll on Thursday, tabbed by the coaches, sports information directors, and media. South Dakota State has been selected as the league favorite with North Dakota coming in seventh.

South Dakota and Denver were chosen second and third, respectively, with each program receiving the final pair of first-place votes.

In its first season as a member of the conference, North Dakota enters with strong expectations of playing with strong energy and excitement as the Fighting Hawks renew countless old rivalries.

“We couldn't be more excited heading into our first season of the Summit," said Head Coach Brian Jones when asked previous about joining the league. “We will be by far one of the youngest teams in the league and in the country competing in an older league so we expect to learn a lot about ourselves as the year unfolds. I am truly excited that our fans and families will be able to see us compete on the road. Restoring many old rivalries will only increase the intensity of these games."

UND welcomes back a pair of seniors who are looking to lead the Fighting Hawks on-and-off court in Cortez Seales and Connor Avants.

In his first season in a starting role, Seales averaged a career-high 10.7 points per game and reached double figures on 15 occasions, including five games of 20 points or more. In the team’s near upset over No. 12 Gonzaga, the Eldridge, Iowa, native shot 11-for-15 from the field in a season-high 23 point outburst.

Avants, the other lone senior on this season’s roster, also tallied a career year for the Hawks in 2017-18. The Edmond, Okla., native established career highs in points per game (11.6), rebounds per game (6.0), and field goal percentage (56.9). His field-goal percentage clip ranked fifth among Big Sky players. Avants reached double figures 21 times, including a trio of 20-plus point scoring games. In the matchup against North Dakota State, the senior tallied 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead UND to a road victory over the Bison.

North Dakota opens the season on Nov. 6 against Northland College before traveling to Milwaukee to battle the Panthers on Nov. 10.

Preseason Poll
South Dakota State (34) -- 570 points
South Dakota (1) -- 470 points
Denver (1) -- 454 points
Purdue Fort Wayne -- 384 points
North Dakota State -- 280 points
Oral Roberts -- 215 points
North Dakota -- 186 points
Omaha -- 177 points
Western Illinois -- 161 points

Preseason First Team
Mike Daum (South Dakota State); Preseason Player of the Year
Trey Burch-Manning (South Dakota)
Zach Jackson (Omaha)
David Jenkins, Jr. (South Dakota State)
John Konchar (Purdue Fort Wayne)
Joe Rosga (Denver)

Preseason Second Team
Brandon Gilbeck (Western Illinois)

Tyler Hagedorn (South Dakota)
Emmanuel Nzekwesi (Oral Roberts)

Tyson Ward (North Dakota State)

Kobe Webster (Western Illinois)

UND Athletics

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