EDISON, NJ - The Iona College men's basketball team was picked to finish second in the 2013-14 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason poll as selected by the league's 11 coaches. The defending MAAC champs were slotted behind Manhattan, the team they beat in the championship game last March. In addition, the conference announced the first part of its televised league games.
The Jaspers topped the poll with 119 points. Iona was second with 108 and was followed by Canisius in third place with 100. The Gaels topped the No. 5 seed Golden Griffins last season in the MAAC quarterfinal. Rider (85) and Marist (59) were fourth and fifth respectively. The bottom six teams – representing participants in the first round of the MAAC Championship – include Fairfield (61), Quinnipiac (58), Niagara (39), Saint Peter's (38), Siena (35) and Monmouth (14).
Announced Wednesday, Iona has four televised conference tilts scheduled on the ESPN family of networks. The Gaels host Canisius at 9:00 pm on Jan. 17 on ESPNU. The three other games can be seen on either ESPNU or ESPN3, determined by the MAAC in early January. The games include home matchups with Quinnipiac (Jan. 24) and Manhattan (Jan. 31) and a road game at Rider. Start times for the three contests are listed as 7:00 pm; however, they are subject to change due to the new TV structure.
In addition to the MAAC slate, Iona's contest at Dayton on Dec. 19 can be seen nationally on NBC Sports Network. Stay tuned to ICGaels.com for additional TV updates as tip-off times for all games unfold.
The conference releases its Preseason All-MAAC teams in October. Iona returns five of its top seven scorers from last year's championship squad. All-MAAC performers Sean Armand and David Laury headline the Gael veterans. Armand, a senior, averaged 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists as a junior and drained an Iona record 112 three-point field goals. Laury, a junior, is the lone returning MAAC performer to average a double-double, posting 13.1 points and 10.3 boards and looks to benefit from his first full-season with the program.
Other significant returners for the Gaels include seniors Tre Bowman and DaShawn Gomez, junior Tavon Sledge and sophomore A.J. English. Both Bowman and Sledge enjoyed excellent postseasons. Bowman led Iona with 20 points in the MAAC Championship game vs. Manhattan while Sledge had 20 in the NCAA Tournament Second Round contest vs. Ohio State. The Maroon & Gold looks forward to the return of English, who was sidelined with an injury after the team's first 19 games. English averaged 7.0 ppg and connected on 40.8% of this three point attempts in 17 games played. Gomez continues to push for time at the point guard position. Red shirt freshman Grant Ellis practiced with the team but did not play in 2012-13.
Iona has seven new faces for the 2013-14 squad. Senior Mike Poole adds veteran leadership after appearing in more than 100 games at Rutgers in his first three seasons of college basketball. Sophomores Kelvin Amayo and Isaiah Williams and rookies Ryden Hines, Daniel Robinson and Shackquiel Scott round out the newcomers to the program.
The Gaels open the season on the road at Cleveland State on Nov. 9. A week later, Iona hosts Wofford (Nov. 16) at the Hynes Center in its home opener.
2013-14 MAAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll