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Howard University sophomore guard RJ Cole was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year, the conference announced today. Bethune-Cookman was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the MEAC this season.meac15 logo

All awards are voted on by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.

Last year's MEAC Freshman of the Year, Cole ranked seventh nationally and led the MEAC with 23.7 points per game and 6.1 assists in his first collegiate season. The 6-1 Union, N.J. native also led the MEAC in three-pointers made with 109 and rarely took a break as the league leader in minutes played. He had the second-highest single game scoring output in 2017-18 with 42 points versus UNC Wilmington and has scored 30-plus points on five occasions while scoring 20-plus points 25 times. Cole rewrote the MEAC record books with 13 Rookie of the Week awards.

Bethune-Cookman captured a share of the MEAC Championship last season under then first-year head coach Ryan Ridder. The Wildcats finished 12-4 in MEAC play and 18-14 overall. They return nine players and four starters from last year’s squad. Back-to-back MEAC Tournament Champion North Carolina Central was picked second followed by Norfolk State.

Rounding out the rest of the preseason poll are Howard, North Carolina A&T State, Morgan State, Florida A&M, Savannah State, Coppin State, South Carolina State, Maryland Eastern Shore and Delaware State.

Joining Cole on the Preseason All-MEAC First Team are Howard’s Charles Williams, the Bethune-Cookman duo of Shawntrez Davis and Soufiyane Diakite and N.C. Central’s Raasean Davis. Williams received All-MEAC First Team honors last season while Diakite is the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year.

The 2018-19 season begins on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with seven teams in action.

The 2019 MEAC Basketball Tournament will be held March 11-16 at the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.

2018-19 Predicted Order of Finish
As voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors

School Points
Bethune-Cookman 237
North Carolina Central 217
Norfolk State 192
Howard 176
North Carolina A&T State 157
Morgan State 138
Florida A&M 109
Savannah State 105
Coppin State 91
South Carolina State 90
Maryland Eastern Shore 80
Delaware State 46

2018-19 Preseason All-MEAC Teams As voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors Preseason Player of the Year: RJ Cole, Howard

First Team

Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
RJ Cole G 6-1 So. Howard Union, N.J.
Charles Williams G 6-6 Jr. Howard Richmond, Va.
Shawntrez Davis F 6-9 Sr. Bethune Cookman Atlanta, Ga.
Raasean Davis C 6-8 R-Sr. N.C. Central Chicago, Ill.
Soufiyane Diakite F 6-6 Sr. Bethune Cookman Bronx, N.Y.
Second Team
Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
Lamar Morgan G/F 6-6 Sr. Coppin State Willingboro, N.J.
Reggie Gardner, Jr. G/F 6-2 So. N.C. Central Bowie, Md.
Isaiah Bailey G/F 6-6 Sr. Bethune-Cookman Compton, Calif.
Steven Whitley G 6-3 R-Jr. Norfolk State Norfolk, Va,
Alex Long F 6-8 Sr. Norfolk State Clinton, Md.
Third Team
Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
Jordan Perkins PG 6-0 Jr. N.C. Central Greensboro, N.C.
Dejaun Clayton G 6-2 R-So. Coppin State Bowie, Md.
Kameron Langley G 6-2 So. North Carolina A&T State Greensboro, N.C.
Justin Ravenel F 6-1 Sr. Florida A&M Lithonia, Ga.
Damani Applewhite F 6-8 Jr. S.C. State Fayetteville, N.C.
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