College Men’s Basketball News – Guilford Picked Third in Preseason ODAC Poll

Greensboro, N.C. — Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men’s basketball coaches picked Guilford College third in the league’s annual preseason poll Thursday. League officials released the 2008-09 poll at the annual media day at the Salem (Va.) Civic Center. The Quakers received 88 points, but no first-place nominations. Nationally ranked Randolph-Macon College received 119 points and 10 first-place votes, thanks to a roster that boasts four starters among 12 returning letter winners. Three-time national tournament veteran Virginia Wesleyan College earned the remaining first-place vote and was picked second.

Despite a 2008 graduating class that accumulated 76 wins, two national tournament appearances and included two-time player of the year Ben Strong ’08, the Quakers are still predicted to finish near the top of the ODAC. Sixth-year head coach Tom Palombo returns two starters and 10 letter winners from last year’s 24-5 ODAC champions team, including junior Clay Henson (Glen Alpine, N.C./Freedom). The 6-1 shooting guard is Guilford’s top returning scorer at 12.9 points per game. Henson also contributed 97 assists, which ranked eighth among league leaders, and 33 steals on the season. Palombo also returns 6-10 junior center Tyler Sanborn (Mount Airy, N.C./Elkin), who totalled 6.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest last season.

For the first time, ODAC men’s basketball teams have been divided into two divisions with each team playing its divisional rivals twice and other league members once. With the change in the format, Guilford’s schedule features more nonconference matchups than in recent years. The Quakers travel west for contests with the University of Texas-Tyler and the University of Texas-Dallas in late November. Guilford’s nonconference slate also features an exhibition matchup with NCAA Division I Davidson College and regular-season contests with two-time NCAA participant Averett University and crosstown-rival Greensboro College.

Palombo’s Quakers are coming off their second consecutive 24-5 record, the Quakers’ best record in over 30 years. Guilford also made its second straight NCAA Division III playoff appearance last season thanks to winning its first ODAC Tournament title. The Quakers open the year with a Nov. 14 exhibition at Davidson, which reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season.

2008 ODAC Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Randolph-Macon 119 (10)
2. Virginia Wesleyan 110 (1)
3. Guilford 88
4. Hampden-Sydney 84
5. Roanoke 79
6. Bridgewater 64
7. Washington and Lee 50
8. Eastern Mennonite 43
8. Emory & Henry 43
10. Lynchburg 30
11. Randolph 16