WORCESTER, Mass. –The Assumption College Men's Basketball team was selected sixth in the Northeast Division of the NE10 Preseason Coaches Poll, as selected by the conference's head coaches. The Hounds open their season at home on Friday, November 9th at 6:00 p.m. against Molloy College.
Saint Anselm took first in the Northeast Division, tallying 13 first-place votes and 111 total points. Merrimack was second with 95 points with two first place votes, followed by Bentley with 86 and Stonehill with 78. Southern New Hampshire University concluded the top five with 56 points, followed by Assumption with 40, Franklin Pierce with 39, and Saint Michael's with 27. In the Southwest Division, Southern Conn. State took the top spot with 93 points and 9 first place votes. New Haven took second with 77 points and three first place vote. LeMoyne (71), Saint Rose (67), and Adelphi (43) round out the top five.
Last season, Assumption went 7-20 overall, including a 70-67 conference win over Saint Anselm at home. The team returns two seniors, Damien Rance (Melbourne, Australia / Pope John XXIII / SanFrancisco State), and Nick Pasquale (Shrewsbury, Mass. / Worcester Academy). Rance returns to the court after an injury last season, but started and played all 28 games in 2016-17 season, averaging 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Pasquale returns from his junior season after appearing in all 27 games, averaging 2.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
The Hounds also brings back two juniors, Patrick Fleming (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. / Iona Prep), and Branislav Vujadinovic (Belgrade, Serbia / St. Joseph), followed by the NE10 All-Rookie selection and WACBA Rookie of the Year, Matthew Kelly (North Potomac, Md. / Quince Orchard). Fleming started all 27 games, averaging 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Vujadinovic averaged 14.6 points per game, nailing a total of 61 three-point field goals, and averaging 5.0 rebounds per game. Kelly Led the team in minutes (37.4) while averaging a team-high 14.6 points per game. Kelly shot 40.6 percent from downtown while making 69 three-point field goals. He also shot 81.9 percent from the free throw line, making 68, along with averaging 3.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
The Hounds welcome six newcomers to the team: Billy Arseneault (Lynnfield, Mass. / Lynnfield), Cal Connelly (Rochester, N.H. / Spaulding / Tilton), Chris Crespo (Smithtown, N.Y. / Smithtown West), Dillon Grant (East Dennis, Mass. / Dennis-Yarmouth / Saint Andrews), Michael Speight (Morningside, Md. / Wise / Caterbury), and David Tiedemann (Westerly, R.I. / Westerly).