NAU men’s hoops picked to finish 11th in Big Sky preseason polls
FLAGSTAFF – The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team has been slotted at No. 11 in both the Big Sky Preseason coaches and media polls, which were released by conference officials on Thursday.
The Lumberjacks collected 10 votes in the coaches’ poll and 46 in the media rankings. Coaches could not vote for their own team while the media, made up of the league’s sports information directors and Big Sky media members, could vote for all 11 teams.
NAU returns three starters and five letterwinners from last season’s squad along with a total of six newcomers, which includes a pair of freshmen and four transfers.
The incoming class for the Lumberjacks includes freshmen Cameron Shelton and Keith Haymon. Haymon is a 6’6” forward out of Cypress Ranch High School in the Houston area, while Shelton prepped at Damien High School in La Verne, Calif.
The ‘Jacks also added three junior college transfers in Jonathan (Bernie) Andre, Davon Bolton and Ted McCree.
Andre joins NAU after one season at Wallace State (Ala.) and averaged 12.9 points per game, while shooting a 45.9 clip from the field and adding 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He rang up double-digit points in 19 of the 28 games in which he saw action for Wallace State.
Bolton was recognized as an honorable mention All-America junior college choice last season, as a 6’2” guard out of Eastern Arizona College. A native of Seattle, Bolton played his high school hoops at Cleveland High and led the Eagles to a No. 9 ranking in the state of Washington during his senior season (2015-16).
McCree, a 6’4” guard, spent the last two seasons at Gillette College (Wyo.) and helped guide the Pronghorns to the Region IX Title in each of the past two seasons, including a 27-5 mark in 2017-18. A native of Detroit, Mich., McCree played his prep career at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School (Mich.) and Hillcrest Prep School in Phoenix.
Satterwhite was a member of Loyola Chicago’s 2018 NCAA Final Four squad and appeared in a total of 65 games during the last two seasons for the Ramblers, including 35 in 2017-18.
The Lumberjacks also welcome a new member to the coaching staff as former Mesa High School head coach Shane Burcar was named as an assistant coach during the offseason. Burcar spent the last 12 seasons as the head coach at Mesa High School and led the Jackrabbits to a 237-103 record during that span, including the 2016 Arizona Class 6A State Championship. Burcar was honored on six different occasions as the region’s coach of the year. His teams qualified for the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) State Playoffs in 10 of his 12 seasons at Mesa and captured seven region titles.
In addition, the ‘Jacks bring back 53 percent of their scoring from last season, which saw them finish 5-27 overall and 2-16 in Big Sky Conference games.
Defending Big Sky regular season and tournament champion Montana topped both the coaches’ and media polls. The Grizzlies tabbed 100 points of 10-of-11 first-place votes in the coaches’ rankings and 383 points and 33-of-35 first-place selections from the media.
Weber State checked in at No. 2 in both polls, while Northern Colorado (No. 3) and Eastern Washington (No. 4) rounded out the top four slots in the rankings.
NAU opens the 2018-19 season on Saturday, Nov. 10 in a 12 p.m. (MST) tipoff against Jacksonville University at the Rolle Activity Center in Flagstaff. The Lumberjacks will play eight of their 10 non-conference games on the road before opening Big Sky play on Saturday, Dec. 29 vs. Montana.