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.
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
|North Carolina Central||217|
|North Carolina A&T State||157|
|South Carolina State||90|
|Maryland Eastern Shore||80|
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
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|