MAAC Releases Preseason Rankings for Basketball

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) released their preseason polls for both the men’s and women’s upcoming basketball seasons. The men’s basketball team came in third in the poll while women’s basketball came in eighth.

The preseason poll was made by the coaches of the league and the results were announced on an award show on Thursday evening on ESPN3. After earning a First Team selection to the All-MAAC Preseason First Team a season ago, senior guard Deion Hammond once again received the honor as he was selected this year by a unanimous decision.

The projected third place is the same ranking the Monmouth Hawks were given just a season ago, however this year they share their projected third place finish with Saint Peters.

Siena was the unanimous decision to finish on top of the standings while Iona was the pick to finish second. Niagara and Quinnipiac followed in sixth and seventh while Fairfield and Marist took the eighth and ninth spots respectively. Canisius was listed at tenth while Rider was the last team ranked in the preseason poll.

With his selection to the All-MAAC Preseason First Team, Hammond made history by becoming the first Monmouth player to be named to a MAAC Preseason Team three times in their collegiate career. Hammond was a third teamer going into his sophomore season and named to the second team last year. He would then improve to the first team by the end of his career.MAAC 2

Hammond also became the third Hawk to be selected to a Preseason Team by a unanimous selection joining Justin Robinson and Micah Seaborn as the others to do so. Last season, Hammond started in all 31 games for the Monmouth Hawks.

He also led the team in scoring averaging 16.3 points per game. Hammond also led in three pointers made, and field goals made. He ranked second in total points in the entire MAAC last season with 505 points. He also ranked seventh in the conference for free throw percentage with 80.6 percent from the stripe.

This season has the upcoming challenge of playing through a season of basketball in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this season will not be like any year previously there is optimism it will operate smoothly.

“We aren’t sure what’s going to happen, so we are trying to have their minds in the right place. If we have a chance to play we are going to be trying super hard and really try to play together and enjoy the opportunity to be able to play,” said head coach King Rice.

MAAC 3The men’s basketball schedule has yet to be released for the upcoming season, however with the season slowly approaching it will be announced shortly.

The women’s program was selected eighth in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll while junior forward Lucy Thomas received Preseason All-MAAC Second Team honors.

“It’s great to see Lucy get recognition as a top player in this league,” said head coach Jody Craig. “I’m looking forward to seeing her show what she’s capable of now that she is healthy again. This year more than any, I believe the top spot is up for grabs.”

In two seasons with Monmouth, Thomas averaged 9.5 points per game as well as 6.3 rebounds. She was also named to the MAAC All-Rookie team as a freshman.

Last season the Lady Hawks finished 9-22 (5-15 in the MAAC) and advance to the MAAC Quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive season. They were then bounced out of the tournament by second seeded Marist.

Manhattan finished first in the Preseason Poll while Fairfield and Quinnipiac tied for second place by a singular vote. Marist and Iona claimed the fourth and fifth spots while Sienna and Rider are sixth and seventh respectively. Finishing behind Monmouth in the poll are Saint Peters at ninth, Niagara at tenth and Canisius rounding out the poll.

Monmouth women’s basketball will begin conference play on December 9th when they have a matchup on the road with Quinnipiac.

PHOTOS COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics