Wright State men picked second, women tied for seventh in league polls

Trotwood-Madison grad Patton named to Horizon preseason first team

FAIRBORN — For the first time in four years, another team besides Wright State sits atop the Horizon League men’s basketball preseason poll.

Cleveland State, which won its first league tourney title in 11 years last season and shared the regular-season crown with the Raiders, earned 30 of the 44 first-place votes among coaches, administrators and media.

The overachieving Vikings, coming off a 19-7 record and NCAA tourney trip, and were bolstered by the return of Trotwood-Madison grad Torrey Patton, who led the team in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (8.0) and was a first team all-league pick.

The 6-foot-6 forward was a senior last season but opted to take advantage of the NCAA’s COVID-19 rule, giving all 2020-2021 athletes a free year of eligibility.

Point guard Craig Beaudion, who led the Vikings with 3.4 assists per game, also decided to return for a fifth season.

The Raiders received nine first-place votes and were picked second after being the preseason favorite in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Sixth-year coach Scott Nagy said he wasn’t surprised by the order at the top.

“They finished first and won the tournament and have everybody back. I don’t know why it’d be any different.” he said.

“It’s something to talk about. It doesn’t mean it’s going to finish that way. I don’t like not being picked first, that’s what bothers me. That’s who I want to be and who I want our team to be. Hopefully, it’ll be a driver for us.

“But it’ll be different for them, too. Different expectations.”

In the women’s poll, IUPUI, led by three-time league player of the year Macee Williams, was picked the clear favorite, earning 11 of the 12 votes from the coaches.

Defending champion Wright State, which is in rebuilding mode after losing its coach and top three players from last season, tied with Youngstown State for the seventh spot.

Milwaukee was second, Green Bay third and Northern Kentucky fourth.

Two Raider men earned preseason all-league nods: junior forward Grant Basile (first team) and junior wing Tanner Holden (second team).

The 6-9 Basile benefitted from a lineup switch when Nagy went with twin towers midway through last season. He averaged 15 points and seven rebounds while shooting a league-high 62% from the field and team-best 47.6% on 3′s.

The second-team all-league pick was at his best in the tourney quarterfinal loss to Milwaukee, tallying 35 points and 14 rebounds.

The 6-6 Holden led the team in minutes at 34.2 per game and averaged 15.8 points while earning first-team all-league honors. He was sixth in the league in field-goal shooting (52%), seventh in foul shooting (79.6) and eighth in rebounding (7.3).

“That’s the only thing I thought was odd,” Nagy said of Holden being left off the preseason first team. “So many of the coaches expressed to me that Tanner could have been the MVP of the league last year. For him to be picked second team, I thought that was a little strange.

“But again, it doesn’t matter to Tanner and won’t make him play any differently. We’ve got a lot of good players in this league, and it’s the best the league has been since I’ve been here.”

Northern Kentucky, which had one first-place vote, was picked third, while Milwaukee and Detroit Mercy, which received two top votes apiece, were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Detroit senior guard Antoine Davis, a three-time first-team all-league pick, is the preseason player of the year. He’s the second-leading returning scorer in the nation at 24 points per game.

The other preseason first-team picks were Oakland’s Jalen Moore and Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr., the son of the Panthers’ coach. The 6-9 forward hasn’t played a college game yet but was a top-five national recruit.

Patton could have pursued pro opportunities, but he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “I’m from Dayton and my parents wanted another chance to see me play. Last year, that couldn’t happen because of COVID. Now, they can.”

DICK NAGY DIES: Scott Nagy’s father, Dick, a fixture at Raider games until fans were banned last season because of the pandemic, died Oct. 6 after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 78.

The elder Nagy was a longtime college assistant, most notably for Lou Henson at Illinois. He helped the Illini reach the 1989 Final Four. Jimmy Collins also was on that staff and took Nagy with him to UIC after becoming head coach there.

Current Illinois coach Brad Underwood posted a picture of Nagy on his Twitter account, expressing his sympathies to the family and calling him “the foundation of so many outstanding teams and a rock for Coach Henson.”

Scott Nagy’s first coaching job was as a graduate assistant at Illinois from 1988-90, working beside his dad.

ESPN COMING: Wright State could have as many as three nationally televised games during the regular season.

The Raiders’ home game against Cleveland State will be broadcast on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. Road matchups with Milwaukee on Feb. 11 and Oakland on Feb. 18 are also up for consideration as “wild card” selections.

The league semifinals at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 7 will air on either ESPN2 or ESPNU and the finals March 8 on ESPN or ESPN2.

Horizon League men’s preseason poll

1. Cleveland State (30) – 502

2. Wright State (9) – 463

3. Northern Kentucky (1) – 406

4. Milwaukee (2) – 396

5. Detroit Mercy (2) – 350

6. Oakland – 340

7. Youngstown State – 214

8. UIC – 204

9. Purdue Fort Wayne – 169

10. RMU – 157

11. Green Bay – 146

12. IUPUI - 85

Horizon League women’s preseason poll

1. IUPUI – 139 (11)

2. Milwaukee – 125

3. Green Bay – 120 (1)

4. Northern Kentucky – 107

5. Oakland – 96

6. Cleveland State – 78

T7. Wright State – 72

T7. Youngstown State – 72

9. RMU – 47

10. UIC – 38

11. Purdue Fort Wayne – 26

12. Detroit Mercy – 16

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