The 2019-20 men's basketball season in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference will move into Divisional play over the next few weeks with the ultimate goal of reaching the MCAC/Region XIII Tournament on February 28 - March 1 to be held in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Read on for previews of men's MCAC programs in the Southern Division, as submitted by Conference coaches.
Early season results show what should make for an interesting and competitive race in the South; Anoka-Ramsey head coach Ron Larson earned his 200th win as Golden Ram in an early-season non-conference victory, while RCTC mentor Brian LaPlante enters his 24th year in 2019-20. Riverland started the season 'Receiving Votes' in the Top 10 NJCAA Basketball preseason poll and have moved into the Top Ten, thanks to a strong start in Austin. Two programs, Minnesota State-Fergus Falls and Ridgewater College, both have head coaches heading into their second season in charge in Shawn Sorenson and Taylor Lupton, respectively. St. Cloud Techncial & Community College began 2019-20 with a 5-0 run out of the gate, also gaining the attention of the the NJCAA national poll committee. Western Technical College will have to replace several key players from last year's team while Ridgewater College is off to a promising 3-2 start.
The MCAC basketball season will begin with Inter-Divisional weekends after Thanksgiving in which Southern and Northern Division teams face of in a Friday-Saturday format; MCAC Inter-Divisional games do not count in MCAC Divisional standings but are reflected in a team's overall mark. The first round of Northern Division action will start on Friday, December 20, while Southern Division teams will open up Divisional play in January.
For all things men's basketball in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, go to: https://mcac.prestosports.com/sports/mbkb/index
Head Coach: Brian LaPlante, 24th year at RCTC, 452-204 Overall record
Assistant Coaches: Matt Christensen, Matt Narveson and Sam Barnes
2018-19 Season: 15-13 overall, 8-6 in South Division 4th place
Key Returning Athletes: Ray Adams Guard Rochester, MN: Karmoga Lero Guard Mahtomedi, MN: Kong Kong Forward Mankato, MN: Mickey Jah Guard Minneaopolis, MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Antonio Maddox Guard Richfield, MN: Ben Jackson Guard Inver Grove Heights, MN: Will Feller Forward Des Moines, IA: Riley Van Buskirk Guard Lino Lakes, MN: Jerome Cunningham Forward Fridley, MN: Devin Melzer Forward Mahtomedi, MN
Coach LaPlante on the Yellowjackets this season: "The Southern Division looks to be as strong as it has in years so we hope to be in the mix at the end of conference play. I would expect our team to be defensively orientated and have good balance on offense."
Former Yellowjackets competing at 4-year colleges this season: Jumah'ri Turner Emporia State; Michael Cornelious Valley City State; Naa'il Mahdi Grandview University; Lavar McCullough university of St. Mary's
For more on RCTC basketball on Twitter, go to: @RCTC_MBB
Head Coach: Derek Hahn, 5th Season, 75-40 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Andrew Kaiser, Andrew Lau, Zach Hinrichs
2018-19 Season: 18-5, 10-4 Southern Division, Divisional Champion
Key Returning Athletes: Terrell Smith, G, Minneapolis MN; Deandre Anderson, G, Milwaukee WI; Montrell Jacobs, G, Milwaukee WI; Nyagoa Obany, C, Austin MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Tate Hebrink, G, Austin MN; Ibrahim Mohammad, F, Minneapolis MN;Keanan Butler, F, Davenport IA; Eddie Oyet, F, Mankato East
Coach Hahn on Blue Devils season: "Solid mix of key returning pieces and new faces who will be relied upon heavily to contribute. For this team to be successful we will need to learn to value defense and rebound at a high level on both ends of the floor!"
Former Blue Devils competing at 4-year colleges this season: Deandre Raggs, William Jewell College; Kwantez Simmons Lakeland College; DeAndre Smith, North Central University; Jalen Smith, Aurora University; Josh Royston, Crown College; Seth Royston, Crown College.
Notable for Riverland Basketball: In 2018-19, Riverland made it to first Region XIII Championship in program history. The Blue Devils set a school record for wins in a season with twenty-four.
Head Coach: Andrew Cone, entering 9th season at SCTCC, 127-85 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Thomas Thuok, Mathias Meyer
2018-19 Season: 22-5 overall, 10-4 in South Division, Tie-1st place South
Key Returning Athletes: Paul Coleman, G, Sartell, MN; Eric Racine, G, Brooklyn Park, MN; Taye Carter, F, St. Paul, MN; Daniel Gardner, G, Hervey Bay, AUS
Key Incoming Athletes: Torez Kinchen, G, Baton Rouge, LA; London Williams, F, Cambridge, MN; Tierre Davis, G, St. Paul, MN; Michael Landquist, F, Nevis, MN
Coach Cone on the Cyclone season: "We expect our team to be well balanced on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. We have a solid group of returning players which should help us as the conference season ramps up. We are looking to push the ball and play with energy."
Former Cyclones competing at 4-year colleges in 2019-20: Kyle Williams, UW-Stout; Dillon Haider, UM-Morris
For more on SCTCC on Twitter, go to: @SCTCCAthletics; @SCTCC_Hoops
Head Coach: Ron Larson, 11th Season 199-130 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Brady Larson and Rory Larson
2018-19 Season: 17-12 overall, 9-5 in South Division, 3rd Place South
Key Returning Athletes: Nashiem Lozier, Forward, Fort Lauderdale, FL.; Beau Nelson, Plainview, MN.; Tenzing Chime, Minneapolis, MN.
Key Incoming Athletes: Terrance Waits, Guard, Osseo, MN; D.J. Pettigrew, Milwaukee, WI.
Coach Larson on the Golden Rams season: "We are working on development teamwork with an inexperienced group of young men."
Former Golden Rams competing at 4-year colleges this season: Justin Castro, North Central College; Jalen Dunlap, North Central College; Kevin Schramm, Valley City State College; Chris Morgran, Bethel College.
Head Coach: Taylor Lupton, 2nd season, 8-17 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Brian Stoebner
2018-19 Season: 8-17 Overall, 3-11 Southern Division
Key Returning Athletes: Chris Morales, G, Tea SD; Emmanuel Akot, C, Sioux Falls SD
Key Incoming Athletes: Xavier Dixon, G, Grand Prarie, TX; Elijah Williams, F, New Underwood, SD
Coach Lupton on the Blue Jays season: "We expect to be a contender this year."
Former Blue Jays competing at 4-year colleges: Deshawn Pickford, St. Marys University.
For more on MnWest basketball on Twitter: @MNWest_MBB
Head Coach: Nathan Thooft, 3 years, 16-34 Overall
Assistant Coach: Ken Celedon, student assistant
2018-19 Season: 11-15 Overall, 3-11 Southern Division, 7th place
Key Returning Athletes: Travis Visser, Hinckley MN; Sam Olson, Cold Spring MN; Faizon Stephen's, Lakeland, FL; Parker Schwinghammer, Brooten MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Jon Olson, Cold Spring MN; Travis Henderson, Orlando, FL; Evan Wiener, Elrosa MN
Coach Throft on this year's Ridgewater team: "I believe this will be a really fun group to coach and watch play. We have a really good group if sophomores that is totally bought into the program and ready to lead, and a group of freshmen ready to compete. We are excited to keep seeing growth in the program, on and off the court."
Former Ridgewater athletes competing at 4-year colleges this season: Daiviante Ostrander, Missouri Valley; Xavier Towne, Mayville State.
For more on Warrior basektball on Twitter: @Ridgewatermbb
Head Coach: Shawn Sorenson, 2nd season, 24-30 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Daniel Berge
2018-19 Season: 11-13 Overall, 6-8 MCAC Southern Division, 6th Place South
Key Returning Athletes: Alend Alemadi, G, Moorhead MN; TJ Martin, W, Ocala FL;
Key Incoming Athletes: Nic Pearson, W, Fergus Falls MN; Zak Zaid, W, Fargo ND;
Coach Sorenson on the Spartan season: "We expect to improve as a team throughout the season."
Former Spartans competing at 4-year college this season: Chris Tungseth, Bethel (MN) University
Head Coach: Erik Wuensch, 7 years, 88-102 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Assistant Matt Sullivan
2018-19 Season: 13-15 Overall, 7-7 MCAC Southern Division, 5th Place
Key Returning Athletes: Brian Huneck F Tomah WI; Jarrell Tarr, G , Springfield IL; Derek Davis F Houston TX: Anthony Crump F Springfield IL
Key Incoming Athletes: Hunter Davis, C Prarie Du Chein WI; Trevor Gallagher, G Mauston WI; Noah Kearney, G Caledonia MN; Ema Esheit F Houston, TX; Jalen Alexander, F Kickapoo WI.
Coach Wuensch on the Cavalier season: "After losing a lot of really good players last year we need the new guys to adjust to the college game for us to be competitive this season."
Former Cavaliers competing at 4-year colleges this season: Justin Kidd, Rockford University
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.
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