|NJCAA DIVISION I MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS|
2. Northwest Florida State
3. South Plains
5. Eastern Florida State
6. Indian Hills
8. Moberly Area
9. Motlow State
10. Southern Idaho
15. Florida SouthWestern State
16. San Jacinto-Central
17. Salt Lake
18. Georgia Highlands
20. Iowa Western
21. Spartanburg Methodist
22. Arizona Western
24. Wabash Valley
|Others Receiving Votes: Connors State; Harcum; John A. Logan, Shelton State; Snow.|
HutchCC Sports Information
For the first time in the program's illustrious history, the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team has been tapped as the preseason No. 1 pick in the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Rankings.
The NJCAA released its preseason rankings just six days ahead of when the 2017-18 Blue Dragons will open the new season at the Sports Arena against the Friends University Junior Varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Hutchinson's previous high for a preseason rank was No. 2 before the 2015-16 season and the Blue Dragons indeed finished as national runner-up. Last season the Blue Dragons started No. 6 in the preseason rankings and went on to win the 2017 NJCAA national championship, the third in program history.
For the fourth time under head coach Steve Eck, the Blue Dragons start in the preseason Top 5. Eck's 2010-11 and 2012-13 teams both started at No. 4 and the 2015-16 team started at No. 6. This is the seventh time in Eck's nine seasons that Hutchinson has been in the preseason rankings.
In Hutchinson's other two seasons coming off national championship years, the 1989 Blue Dragons started No. 22 in the preseason rankings. The 1995 Blue Dragons were No. 6.
The Blue Dragons come off a 35-2 season in when they won their second-straight Jayhawk Conference championship, were a Region VI Tournament runner-up and national tournament at-large qualifier and defeated St. Petersburg, Odessa, Northwest Florida State and Eastern Florida State to win the national championship.
Six players return from last year's championship team. Starting guard J.J. Rhymes averaged 16.0 points shooting 47.7 percent from the field. Rhymes also averaged 4.6 rebounds per game.
Bandoo averaged 13.7 points after shooting 53.0 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3-point range. Mitchell averaged 8.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent. Nuhu shot 50.5 percent in averaging 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds.
Several familiar teams fill out the Top 5 after the Blue Dragons. Northwest Florida State is No. 2, South Plains is No. 3, Vincennes University is no. 4 and Eastern Florida State is No. 5.
Coffeyville, the defending Region VI champion, is ranked No. 14 and is the only other Jayhawk Conference school to be listed in the preseason rankings.
After season opener on Wednesday, the Blue Dragons will then play host to North Lake College on Nov. 3 and NEO on Nov. 4. North Lake opens the season as the preseason No. 1 team in NJCAA Division III.
The first regular season poll will be issued on December 5.