The Ashland University men's basketball team is ranked No. 19 in the National Basketball Coaches Association preseason national poll released on Tuesday (Oct. 29).
The Eagles are ranked in the preseason coaches' poll for the first time.
Last season, the Eagles reached as high as No. 6 in the coaches' poll after winning their first 13 games of the season. They were in the rankings for 12 straight weeks from Dec. 4 through March 5 and were in the top 10 four straight weeks from Jan. 8-29.
Ashland was 23-7 last season and reached its second NCAA Tournament in the last four years. John Ellenwood is in his 11th season as the Eagles' head coach.
He will guide a team that returns four of its five starters from last season as they build off their NCAA Tournanment appearance and strong GLIAC showing where they went 15-5.
Senior center Drew Noble returns to the team after two seasons of All-GLIAC performances and a first-team NABC All-Midwest District selection last year. The 6-foot-8 Louisville, Ohio native was the preseason GLIAC Player of the Year pick of the coaches and averaged 17.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season.
Redshirt-junior wing Aaron Thompson was an All-GLIAC second team selection after leading the conference by a wide margin in rebounding (9.4 per game). He was also a GLIAC All-Defensive team standout, helping AU rank fourth in the nation in scoring defense (63 points per game allowed).
The Eagles will get added depth from junior guard Colin Nieberding, sophomore guard Dylan Beaugard, redshirt-freshman guard Bryce Drews, freshmen guards Brandon Haraway and Ethan Conley, and freshman forward CJ Karsatos.
The Eagles will open the season next Friday (Nov. 8) at 7:30 p.m. against Lake Erie at Kates Gymnasium.