Earlier we looked at how the lady ballers of the WVIAC look going into this year. Now we look as the men are up next with a look at each team as they head into the regular season.
1. West Liberty returns the top eight scorers from the first WVIAC squad ever to win back-to-back regional titles. The Hilltoppers led the nation in scoring (102.4 ppg) for the sixth time in the last seven years last winter and head coach Jim Crutchfield now leads all NCAA men’s coaches in career winning percentage (207-43, .828). Two 1,000-point scorers – senior All-American Alex Falk (18.0 ppg) and junior all-WVIAC standout Cedric Harris (15.8 ppg, 191 assists) –have plenty of help as West Liberty returns six double-figure scorers. Sophomore CJ Hester (14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) is the reigning WVIAC Freshman of the Year.
2. Charleston finished second in the conference in 2012 and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament behind Player of the Year PJ Reyes. Although the Golden Eagles lost Reyes to graduation, the squad returns an abundance of experience. Evan Faulkner is the lone senior on the team. He poured in 11.5 points and was second on the team with 42 steals last season. Head coach Mark Downey also brought in a number of talented players.
3. Fairmont State is under the leadership of first-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun. He inherits a solid core and added several promising newcomers. Second-team all-conference performer Isaac Thornton (21.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) was one of the top scorers in the nation a season ago. The Falcons have an abundance of newcomers that will help the team make a push for a postseason bid.
4. West Virginia State head coach Bryan Poore looks to make another run at the top this season with the return of David Ford (15.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Howard Douglas, III (8.3 ppg). Ford was the team’s second-leading scorer a year ago while the versatile Douglas started 18 games, averaging 25 minutes a contest.
5. Alderson-Broaddus head coach Greg Zimmerman returns a standout group of players that narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament in 2012. First-team all-conference honoree Kurklin Bohanon (19.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg) returns after leading the Battlers in scoring and rebounding a year ago. Roy Brown (10.0 ppg) is another returning starter and a double-figure scorer while Casey Ainslie (9.1 ppg) and Adam Kline (4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) gained valuable experience last season.
6. Shepherd features one of the most dynamic players in the conference in first-team all-WVIAC standout Chad Moore. He poured in 20.8 points and grabbed 10 rebounds a night last year. Brantley Osborne (15.3 ppg) and Sidney McCray (12.8 ppg) are the top deep threats for Coach Justin Namolik, having combined for 129 3-point field goals last season.
7. Wheeling Jesuit is coming off a 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance following a standout season and looks to reach the postseason once again. Head coach Danny Sancomb returns second-team all-conference selection Ben Seifert (10.8 ppg), who ranked among NCAA Division II leaders with 224 assists.
8. Pitt-Johnstown boasts some potent offensive weapons, headed by first-team all-conference selection Nick Novak (19.5 ppg), who led the team in scoring and assists (114). Another scoring threat for head coach Bob Rukavina is Jordan Miller (15.3 ppg) while standout Bill Luther (7.6 ppg) shot nearly 50 percent from downtown.
9. West Virginia Wesleyan is led by first-year head coach Patrick Beilein and will look to make it three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Despite heavy graduation losses, Beilein inherited one of the league’s top players in Kelsey Williams (17.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg).
10. Concord lost a couple of its top scorers but returns a few that should help the team continue its progress from a season ago. Mike Boyd (7.9 ppg) is back at the point for the Mountain Lions after leading the team with 116 assists last year. Coach Kent McBride also welcomed back Damien Tunstalle (5.6 ppg), who shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, but will rely heavily on several new faces with just five upperclassmen on the roster.
11. Seton Hill’s backcourt tandem of David Windsor and Oliver McGlade should see their roles increase this season. Part-time starters for head coach Tony Morocco a season ago, McGlade (3.6 ppg) averaged more than 16 minutes a night while dishing out 44 assists and shooting 43.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Windsor (3.9 ppg) saw time in 26 games, averaging nearly 20 minutes a night while shooting 44 percent from the floor.
12. Glenville State head coach Stephen Dye has an abundance of weapons that he can use. Kevin Gray (16.6 ppg) and WVIAC all-freshman team standout Jamel Morris (14.7) lead the way for the Pioneers. Versatile student-athlete Andy Dollman (8.9 ppg) will also solidify the backcourt.
13. Davis & Elkins head coach Bruce Martin will rely on a trio of seniors to move the Senators up the WVIAC ranks. D’Quan Lynch (12.6 ppg) is the top returning scorer while Shane Brown and Paolo Ivis were key contributors a year ago.
14. Bluefield State boasts returners Vincent Rogers and Johnny Uhewu. Rogers played in 21 games while netting 14 points a night. He also grabbed 5.6 rebounds a contest. Uhegwu started 15 games and connected on 9.6 points a game.
15. Ohio Valley head coach Mike Snell is counting on returning lettermen Osvaldas Gaizauskas and Mustafa Helal. Gaizauskas saw time in 12 games, starting four while averaging 4.3 points. Helal (2.6 ppg) canned 44 percent of his shots from the floor a season ago.
Once again, thanks to Brent Hager, WVIAC Associate Commissioner.