The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference released its 2011-2012 HCAC Preseason men's basketball poll on Wednesday, with Defiance College being picked to finish fifth in the league. DC placed a pair of student-athletes on the HCAC Players-to-Watch List in Anthony Brown and Logan Wolfrum.
Defiance posted its fifth-straight winning season with a 13-12 overall clip last season and will return 10 lettermen and all five starters from that unit.
Along with returning the starting unit, DC is bringing back its top-six scorers, its top-five rebounders and its top-five players in minutes per game.
Brown and Wolfrum will headline the roster entering the 2011-2012 campaign, as the explosive duo ended last year as the top scoring tandem in the HCAC with a combined 36.4 points per contest. The offensive prowess of Brown and Wolfrum earned them each a spot on the all-HCAC team last season, with Brown being named honorable mention and Wolfrum being voted a first team all-HCAC standout.
Brown ranked fourth in the HCAC with 14.8 points per night as a junior and was second in the nation with a 92.5-percent clip from the charity stripe during the regular season. Brown also ended among the HCAC leaders by shooting 36.6 percent from three-point range and moved to just 95 points away from becoming the 44th member of DC's 1,000-point club.
Wolfrum enters his junior campaign as a candidate for HCAC Player of the Year and all-American accolades, after ending last season as one of only four NCAA Division III players to rank top-20 in scoring and top-35 in assists.
The Defiance native led all NCAA Division III freshmen and sophomores and topped the HCAC with 21.6 points per game, while also pacing the conference with 5.3 helpers per night. Wolfrum's sophomore season made him the first player in DC's NCAA Division III era to log 500 points, 100 assists and 100 rebounds in a single season and moved him to within 145 points of joining the program's 1,000-point club.
DC will have plenty of options as rising sophomore Ryan Hicks and seniors Kevin and Kyle Tietje will give the Jackets a strong trio of returning post threats.
That potential starting unit will be bolstered by seniors Brandon Hoke and Justin Morris and sophomores Leroy Lewis, Josh Francis and Brandon Ray, and 14 new faces to round out the 24-man roster.