Men’s Basketball Picked Sixth in MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll

FHSU Sports Information Department

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State has been selected sixth in the MIAA Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll, released on Wednesday (Oct. 21). The Tigers look to make a return to the upper half of the standings after finishing ninth last year.

Fort Hays State finished at 16-13 overall and 9-10 in the MIAA last year. All-American point guard Craig Nicholson went down with a season-ending injury 16 games into the season. FHSU went 6-7 overall following the injury and fell in the first round of the MIAA Tournament to Washburn.

The Tigers are only two years removed from an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and three years removed from their last MIAA title, when they tied Central Missouri for the regular season crown in 2012-13. Fort Hays State has enjoyed eight 20-win seasons and six NCAA Tournament appearances under head coach Mark Johnson, who enters his 15th year at the helm.

Nicholson is the top returning scorer for FHSU. He was averaged 14.9 points and 6.1 assists per game. Dom Samac emerged as a solid offensive threat for the Tigers in the post, averaging 10.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The Tigers have their top rebounder back, Jake Stoppel, who averaged 5.8 per game and contributed 7.4 points per game. Drew Kite returns in the post, while Hadley Gillum and Kade Spresser also return after seeing limited action last year. Grant Holmes redshirted his first year with the program.

The Tigers have nine new faces on the roster this year, including three transfers and six true freshmen.

Northwest Missouri State has been selected as the favorite to win the conference title, earning nine first-place votes. The Bearcats were the regular season champion last year. Central Missouri, Nebraska-Kearney, Missouri Southern, and Pittsburg State all received first-place votes as well. Pittsburg State was the MIAA Tournament Champion in 2015.

2015-16 MIAA Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll
1. Northwest Missouri (9) 164
2. Central Missouri (1) 143
3. Nebraska-Kearney (1) 141
4. Missouri Southern (2) 140
5. Pittsburg State (1) 134
6. Fort Hays State 101
7. Lindenwood 91
8. Central Oklahoma 77
T9. Washburn 72
T9. Missouri Western 72
11. Emporia State 58
12. Southwest Baptist 38
13. Northeastern State 29
14. Lincoln 14

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