PORTLAND, Ore. – The Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2012-13 Great Northwest Athletic Conference title chase, according to the league’s 12th annual coaches’ poll, released Tuesday.
The Seawolves – coming off a 23-7 season and an NCAA 2nd Round berth – also landed a pair of players on the league’s inaugural Preseason All-GNAC Team, with juniors Travis Thompson and Kyle Fossman getting the nod.
Seattle Pacific, with four returning starters from last season, topped the poll with eight first-place votes, while defending GNAC and NCAA Div. II champion Western Washington claimed second place. Central Washington outpolled UAA 79-70 for third place, with Montana State Billings picked fifth with 49 points.
UAA returns three starters from 2011-12 – Thompson, Fossman and junior guard Colton Lauwers – who combined to average 26.8 points and 8.1 assists per game.
Thompson, a 6-1 guard from Anchorage (Dimond HS), was an All-GNAC Second Team selection as a sophomore, averaging 11.8 points, 3.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds, while shooting 48 percent from long range and 85 percent at the free throw line.
Fossman, a 6-0 guard from Haines, was UAA’s third-leading scorer with 10.5 points per game as a sophomore, hitting 46 percent from long range and 87 percent at the charity stripe.
The Seawolves also return a pair of key reserves in seniors Abebe Demissie (5.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 42.5 3FG%, 16.8 mpg) and Liam Gibcus (3.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 55.6 FG%, 9.4 mpg) as they aim for a third straight NCAA Tournament berth.
UAA begins with a Nov. 5 exhibition game against Division I Troy University in Troy, Ala., before returning home to open the regular season against Colorado Christian on Nov. 9 in the AT&T Jamboree.
2011-12 GNAC Coaches Poll 2011-12 Recs., Pl. Pts
1. Seattle Pacific (8) 23-8 (13-5, 3rd) 97
2. Western Washington (2) 31-5 (16-2, 1st) 90
3. Central Washington 15-13 (8-10, 6th) 79 4. Alaska Anchorage 23-7 (15-3, 2nd) 70
5. Montana State Billings 18-12 (10-8, 5th) 49
6. Western Oregon 18-10 (11-7, 4th) 41
7. Northwest Nazarene 12-14 (6-12, 7th) 34
8. Alaska Fairbanks 5-23 (2-16, 10th) 31
Saint Martin’s 10-17 (6-12, 8th-T) 31
10. Simon Fraser 8-18 (3-15, 10th) 28
(Note: First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 11-9-8-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.)
2012-13 GNAC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM *John Allen, Western Washington (G, 6-1, Sr., Briar, WA)
*David Downs, Seattle Pacific (G, 6-2, Jr., Kirkland, WA)
*Richard Woodworth, Western Washington (G, 6-3, Jr., Bellevue, WA)
Mark McLaughlin, Central Washington (G, 6-6, Jr., Bothell, WA)
*Andy Poling, Seattle Pacific (C, 6-11, Sr., Portland, OR) Travis Thompson, Alaska Anchorage (G, 6-1, Jr., Anchorage, AK) Stefan Tica, Alaska Fairbanks (F, 6-7, Jr., Belgrade, Serbia)
Kolton Nelson, Western Oregon (C, 6-8, Sr., Klamath Falls, OR)
Jordan Coby, Central Washington (G, 6-1, Sr., Tacoma, WA)
Roger O’Neill, Saint Martin’s (F, 6-5, Sr., Edmonds, WA)
Patrick Simon, Seattle Pacific (F, 6-8, Jr., Ephrata, WA)
Paul Jones, Western Washington (F, 6-5, Sr., Kent, WA) Kyle Fossman, Alaska Anchorage (G, 6-1, Jr., Haines, AK) Jobi Wall, Seattle Pacific (F, 6-6, Sr., Arvada, CO)
Jonathon Hawkins, Northwest Nazarene (G, 6-3, Sr., Phoenix, AZ)