FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Coming off a 17-10 finish a year ago, Nova Southeastern men’s basketball has been listed as the No. 8 team in the nation heading into year two under head coach Jim Crutchfield, according to the DII Bulletin Preseason Poll released recently. The Sharks tied for fourth in the Sunshine State Conference standings last year after being projected to tie for 10th in the SSC Preseason Coaches Poll.
With last year’s finish delivering the best win percentage for the Sharks since joining the NCAA in 2002, NSU earned the most wins since the 2005-06 season and the first winning record since 2012-13. Heading into the 2018-19 campaign, the Sharks return three starters from last year’s squad, headed up by D2CCA All-South Region point guard and SSC Newcomer of the Year David Dennis. The senior posted a team-best 19.2 points per game last year, ranking second in the NCAA with an SSC-high 3.56 steals per outing and 10th nationally (2nd SSC) with 6.8 assists per game – as well as a team-leading 6.1 boards per game.
In addition, sophomore Nick Smith debuted with 13.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest, hitting 49.2 percent from the floor. Last year, Dwayne Gibson produced averages of 10.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG and is back for his senior stretch with the Sharks.
In the offseason, Crutchfield and the Sharks added transfers Hampus Ahlin (6-6, G/F, Tennessee State), Mikkel Kolstad (6-4, G, Augusta State), Mark Matthews (6-5, G/F, Florida Gulf Coast) and Connor Zinaich (6-6, G/F, M Marion Military Institute), along with rookies Kaine McColley (6-6, G/F, Clearwater Academy International), Mike Moore (6-1, G, Montverde Academy) and Lukas Speidel (6-6, G/F, Falkonergårdens Gymnasium).
The Sharks picked up their first program national ranking last year, finishing ranked fifth in the NCAA in scoring offense (90.1 PPG), fourth in steals (10.2 SPG) and 17th in free throw percentage (77.2 percent), turning in the fifth-largest turnaround in the nation.
In addition to the DII Bulletin ranking, the Sharks also recently received praise in a feature on NCAA.com, listed among the teams with the strongest case for preseason rankings in the top 10 according to writers from the national governing body.
NSU will open this year’s 26-game campaign on Nov. 9 in Rick Case Arena against the Claflin Panthers, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament after winning the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). In total, the Sharks play 16 games at home in Rick Case Arena, where they finished 12-4 a year ago.
Monday, Oct. 15 marks the opening day of 2018-19 team practices for the Sharks. The program will take the opportunity to debut its move to Facebook (/NSUMBasketball), adding exclusive content to the newest social media platform in the team’s array.
|Division II Bulletin
|2.||Northwest Missouri St.||27-4|
|3.||West Texas A&M||32-4|
|14.||Southwest Minn. St.||25-9|
|16.||Cal Poly Pomona||23-7|
|25.||UC San Diego||21-11|