|RMU Tabbed Second in NEC Preseason Poll|
Brooklyn, N.Y. - According to a poll of Northeast Conference (NEC) head coaches, the Robert Morris University men's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the NEC in 2012-13.
The poll was released as part of the NEC's inaugural "Social" Media Day event, held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It marks the seventh consecutive year the Colonials have been picked to finish in the top three in the league, as RMU was tabbed second in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 and third in 2008 and 2009.
Tabbed as the preseason favorite in the NEC in 2012-13 is LIU Brooklyn, which received nine first-place votes. Robert Morris earned the other trio of first-place tallies.
Following the Blackbirds and Colonials in the top five of the 2012 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll are Wagner, Quinnipiac and St. Francis (N.Y.).
Rounding out the poll is Sacred Heart, which was picked to finish sixth, Monmouth, Central Connecticut State, Mount St. Mary's, Bryant, Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis (Pa.).
In addition to being picked second in the poll, redshirt senior guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic) earned a spot on the 2012-13 All-NEC Preseason Team.
The 6'0", 170-pound Jones is joined on the squad by senior forwards Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere of LIU Brooklyn, senior guard Shane Gibson of Sacred Heart and junior forward Ike Azotam of Quinnipiac.
A 2012 All-NEC First Team selection, Jones is one of four returning starters for the Colonials in 2012-13. Last season, Jones led Robert Morris in scoring (16.0 ppg), assists (167) and steals (68) in helping lead RMU to an overall record of 26-11 (.703), including a 13-5 (.722) mark in the NEC.
Jones became the 20th member of the Robert Morris 1,000-point club in 2011-12 and enters his final season of eligibility with 1,259 points, which ranks 11th all-time. Already the school record holder in career free throws (397) and free-throw attempts (560), Jones is also RMU's active leader in steals (169) and assists (393), which rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Robert Morris career record book.
In 2011-12, Robert Morris extended a program record with its seventh consecutive winning season in tying a single-season school record for victories. The Colonials advanced to their fourth straight NEC Tournament championship game, falling at LIU Brooklyn.
Despite the loss to the Blackbirds, RMU accepted a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), the program's fourth postseason appearance in the last five years. In the CIT, Robert Morris advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to road wins at Indiana State and Toledo, the program's first victories in a national postseason tournament since 1983.
Robert Morris enters the 2012-13 campaign having posted an overall record of 117-56 (.676) since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, with the 117 victories a school and NEC record for a five-year span. The Colonials are also tied with Kent State for the ninth most wins among mid-major programs over the last five years.
The Colonials open their 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against St. Vincent Thursday, Nov. 1, in a 7:00 p.m. tip at the Charles L. Sewall Center. RMU opens its 37th season of Division I basketball and its 2012-13 regular season Friday, Nov. 9, with a 7:00 p.m. tip at Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J.
2012-13 NEC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. LIU Brooklyn (9)
2. Robert Morris (3)
5. St. Francis (N.Y.)
6. Sacred Heart
8. Central Connecticut State
9. Mount St. Mary's
11. Fairleigh Dickinson
12. Saint Francis (Pa.)