STEPHENVILLE – No. 24 Tarleton men’s basketball is picked to finish fourth in the annual Lone Star Conference preseason poll as part of the LSC Online Basketball Media Day.
The Texans received 695 votes and two first-place votes in the poll. West Texas A&M is picked to defend its title and win the league, receiving 826 votes and 27 first-place votes. St. Edward’s is picked second with 790 votes and Texas A&M-Commerce is one spot ahead of Tarleton in third with 703 votes. WT (7), St. Edward’s (20) and Tarleton (24) are all ranked nationally in the NABC preseason top 25 poll as well.
Reigning LSC first team all-conference and Defensive Player of the Year Josh Hawley was picked as the Co-LSC Preseason Player of the Year.
Hawley is looking to build off a dominating junior campaign where he averaged 17.3 points, an LSC-leading 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.2 blocks. He also led the conference in field goal percentage (58%) and double-doubles (15).
The LSC preseason poll is voted on by LSC head coaches, sports information directors and media representatives throughout the league.
“Our staff did a great job recruiting and replacing players that were big pieces for us last season,” said second-year head coach Chris Reisman. “The rankings nationally and in the conference are indicative of several things: the tradition of the program, the guys we have coming back and the class that we recruited. We’re looking forward to going out there and establishing this team’s identity.”
The Texans are coming off a 21-10 season where they finished fourth in the LSC with a 10-8 league record under first-year head coach Chris Reisman. It was the ninth 20-win season in the last 10 years for the Texans.
Reisman returns seven letter winners and two starters from last year’s squad, including all-region forward Josh Hawley (17.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals). The Texans also return Randall Broddie (11 points), who started all 30 games last season.
Other key returning players are Jaraan Lands (9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds as a junior in 2018), Clashon Gaffney (4.7 points, 4.3 rebounds), and Isaiah Boling (3.4 points).
Reisman and his staff went out and recruited nine players to fill out the roster, including five transfers and four from high school. The roster additions include Division I transfers in Zach Naylor (Ole Miss) and Ray Burt Jr. (IPFW) and junior college transfers Devin Bethely (Seward JC), Josh Williams (Panola JC), and Daniel Melvin (St. Petersburg JC).
The Texans will open the season in Fort Smith, Arkansas for the RMAC/LSC Challenge against Metro State on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.