KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State Men’s Basketball received a pick of fourth in both the MIAA Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, released on Wednesday during MIAA Basketball Media Day at The College Basketball Experience. The Tigers were tabbed in the position where they finished last season.
Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State topped both polls following an undefeated 38-0 season. The top four remained consistent in both polls with Missouri Southern second, Washburn third, and Fort Hays State fourth. The top four of the polls nearly mirrors how the regular season standings finished last year, the only difference is Washburn finished second and Missouri Southern finished third in conference play. From fifth through 14th, picks vary in the polls.
Fort Hays State is coming off an 18-11 season in 2018-19. The Tigers went 12-7 in MIAA play to finish alone in fourth place. FHSU saw its season end in the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals. The Tigers lost all three of their all-conference performers from last year, which included Brady Werth, Marcus Cooper, and Kyler Kinnamon.
The Tigers have six returners to the squad this season, however, only four were on the floor last year as two redshirted. Aaron Nicholson is the top returning scorer from last year. He averaged 9.0 points per game and led the team in 3-point field goals made (45). Devin Davis is the top scorer off the bench from last year, who averaged 8.6 points per contest. Jared Vitztum is the top returning rebounder, who pulled down 5.3 per game while chipping in 7.3 points per game. Nyjee Wright also returns after scoring 4.8 points per game last year.
Mark Johnson enters his 19th year guiding the Tigers. He is the longest tenured coach in the program’s history and also the program’s all-time wins leader with a career record of 359-172. He has led the Tigers to three conference titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
Johnson brought in eight newcomers to this year’s squad. Five of the newcomers are transfers, while three are true freshmen.
The first action for FHSU will be on Thursday, October 24 in an exhibition contest at the University of Kansas. Tipoff is set for 7 pm at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Men’s Coaches Poll
1. Northwest Missouri (13) – 169 points
2. Missouri Southern (1) – 157 points
3. Washburn – 131 points
4. Fort Hays State – 124 points
5. Northeastern State – 99 points
6. Central Missouri – 96 points
7. Lincoln – 93 points
8. Pittsburg State – 92 points
9. Rogers State – 68 points
10. Emporia State – 66 points
11. Newman – 61 points
12. Missouri Western – 58 points
13. Central Oklahoma – 44 points
14. Nebraska Kearney – 16 points
Men’s Media Poll
1. Northwest Missouri (19) – 279 points
2. Missouri Southern (1) – 259 points
3. Washburn – 238 points
4. Fort Hays State – 198 points
5. Pittsburg State – 183 points
6. Lincoln – 156 points
7. Central Missouri – 140 points
8. Emporia State – 123 points
9. Missouri Western – 120 points
10. Newman – 103 points
11. Rogers State – 102 points
12. Northeastern State – 88 points
13. Nebraska Kearney – 64 points
14. Central Oklahoma- 46 points