ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University men's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the 2019-20 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association preseason coaches poll.
Trine finished with 43 points and had one first-place vote to place second in this year's poll. Albion (Mich.) College was picked as the favorite and had seven first-place votes. Calvin (Mich.) College rounded out the top three teams with 34 points.
Last season, the Thunder posted a 19-8 overall record and claimed the team's first MIAA regular-season championship with an 11-3 mark in conference play. Trine also earned the top seed in the conference tournament.
In 2019-20, Trine returns several players who saw significant playing time a year ago, including the 2018-19 MIAA Defensive "Player of the Year" Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic). Winters averaged 4.6 points per game last season and averaged 5.5 rebounds per game. He also had 83 assists to go along with 36 steals. Winters is also one of four seniors on this year's roster that includes Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe), Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) and Jason Clune (Meadville, Pa./Meadville).
Hunter, who was the 2017-18 MIAA "Defensive Player of the Year," averaged 10.0 ppg. as a junior and shot 53.9 percent from the floor (110-of-204) in 27 games played. He was among the team leaders in rebounding at 4.6 rpg. and was second in blocked shots with 28. Johnson played in all 27 games and started all but three. Johnson was the third leading scorer last year at 13.3 ppg. and was second on the team in three-pointers made with 48 (48-of-119). He also had the best free-throw percentage at 86.0 (43-of-50) and was the team leader in assists with 102. Clune saw playing time in 13 varsity games as a junior and averaged 2.6 ppg. on 52.4 percent shooting (11-of-21). In addition, Clune grabbed 16 rebounds, had five assists and tallied a pair of steals.
Trine will begin the 2019-20 season on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Illinois Tech in Chicago, Ill. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.