The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team was picked seventh in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll.

    The seventh-place slotting is the best for the Golden Eagles in program history. Minnesota Crookston has had a continued rise in the conference under Head Coach Dan Weisse as they have gone from one conference win in 2015-16 to a Division II program-record 17 wins and nine conference wins last season in 2018-19.

    The Golden Eagles had 109 points in the preseason poll. Minnesota Crookston was picked fourth in the NSIC North in the poll, just behind Minnesota State University Moorhead.

    The Minnesota Crookston men's basketball team is looking to build off their best season in the NCAA Division II era as they made a historic run to the Sanford Pentagon in 2018-19 with an upset of 2016 National Champion Augustana. Minnesota Crookston went 17-16 (9-13 NSIC) last season.

    The Golden Eagles return the core of last season's squad led by two-time All-NSIC First Team pick Harrison Cleary. Cleary has been the nation's free throw percentage leader the last two season's and is third all-time in NSIC scoring. He looks poised for a big season.

    Cleary was selected as Minnesota Crookston’s NSIC Player to Watch.

    Cleary averaged 22.2 points per game last season. He is joined by four players with significant starting experience in Malcolm Cohen (Sr., G/F, Detroit, Mich.), Ben Juhl (Jr., G, Clive, Iowa), Javier Nicolau (Sr., F/C, Castellon, Spain) and Brian Sitzmann (R-So., G/F, Savage, Minn.).

    Cohen averaged 9.0 points per game, while Juhl notched 8.2 points per tilt. Juhl shot 45.8 percent from beyond the arc for the Golden Eagles. In addition, Sitzmann notched 7.0 points per game, while Nicolau tallied 4.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per tilt.

    The Golden Eagles also return Chase Johnson (R-Jr., F/C, La Crosse, Wis.), while several newcomers will also battle for playing time. Minnesota Crookston opens the season against NCAA Division II National Champion Northwest Missouri State University Nov. 8 in St. Joseph, Mo.

    The Golden Eagles open exhibition play Oct. 30 at Lysaker Gymnasium against Bethel University at 4 p.m. They commence the conference season Thurs., Nov. 21 at home at 6 p.m., versus Bemidji State University.

    Minnesota State University-Mankato was picked to win the league with seven first-place votes and 214 overall points. Augustana University was selected second with six first-place votes and 208 points, while University of Minnesota Duluth was picked third with three first-place votes.

    Brandon Myer of Minnesota Duluth was selected as the NSIC North Preseason Player of the Year, while Cameron Kirksey of Minnesota State was picked as the NSIC South Preseason Player of the Year.

Golden Eagle women predicted to finish 14th, Weakley named player to watch

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference released the 2019-20 women’s basketball preseason poll earlier today.

    Minnesota Crookston was picked to finish six in the North half of the NSIC and was picked to finish 14th in the overall conference standings.

    Overall, Minnesota Crookston finished with 48 points, just one behind North division foe Bemidji State.

    In the north, the Golden Eagles received 16 points, one ahead of the Beavers, who was picked to finish seventh.

    MSU Moorhead was picked to win both the North and overall conference title, gathering nine first-place votes and 217 points overall.     

The University of Sioux Falls was picked to win the South half and projected to finish second with 214 overall points.

    Minnesota Duluth, Augustana and Minnesota State round out the top five, respectively.

    Paige Weakley (Sr., G, Kearney, Mo.) was named the Golden Eagles player to watch.         

The senior guard averaged 6.4 points per game as a junior for Minnesota Crookston and shot 39.8 percent from beyond the arc during the 2018-19 season, while also shooting 89.3 percent from the charity stripe as a junior.

    MSU Moorhead’s Megan Hintz was picked for the NSIC North Player of the Year, while Sioux Falls guard Kaely Hummel was the NSIC South Player of the Year.

Hintz finished last season averaging a double-double with 15.2 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game. The Rochester, Minn., native was also named Second Team D2CCA All-Region and All-NSIC First Team a season ago.

Meanwhile, two time All-NSIC performer, Kaely Hummel returns to a Sioux Falls team with high expectations. The senior finished seventh in scoring in the NSIC a season ago.

    Minnesota Crookston has two exhibition games against Concordia College (MN) on Wed., Oct., 30 and North Dakota State on Fri., Nov. 1. The Golden Eagles kick off the 2019-20 regular season on Nov. 8 against Nebraska at Kearney.