WICHITA – The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball program is one that is always strapped with lofty expectations and the 2012-13 season appears that will be the case again.
The Blue Dragons were picked to finish second in the Jayhawk Conference Western Division, according to the coaches’ annual preseason poll released on Monday at the annual Jayhawk Conference Media Day.
Beginning his fourth season, Blue Dragon men’s basketball head coach Steve Eck returns one starter and four letter winners from a team that went 25-7, finished second in the Jayhawk West and advanced to the Region VI quarterfinals.
It’s the third time in Eck’s four seasons that the Blue Dragons have been picked second. The 2010-11 Blue Dragons were picked to win the league. Hutchinson is looking for its first Jayhawk West crown since 2004 and its first Region VI crown since 1997.
The Blue Dragons were picked behind defending Jayhawk West and Region VI champion Seward County. Barton was selected third, Cloud County fourth and Dodge City fifth. Garden City, Butler, Pratt and Colby rounds out picks 6 through 9.
Sophomore forward Alex Davis has already committed to Fresno State. The 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward from Houston averaged 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots last season. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, but often had foul trouble to contend with.
Eck will have some experienced guards to build round this season.
Rozell Nunn is a 6-3, 200-pound guard from Kansas City, Kan., who averaged 6.3 points and shot 32.4 percent from the field.
A.J. Spencer had a solid freshman season working until an injury slowed his progress last season. He is a 5-2, 195-pound guard from Shawnee, Kan., who averaged 7.9 points.
Jack Pyle is a 6-2, 170-pound sophomore from McPherson who averaged 5.8 points per game last season.
Eck also brings in a good mix of transfer talent as well as a freshmen strong freshman group.
Eck thinks the 2012-13 Blue Dragons will be quicker, but rebounding could be an issue.
Hutchinson will open the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2 with the annual season-opening Quarterback Classic. HCC will play Allen on Nov. 2, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Nov. 3 and Mesa on Nov. 4.
HCC will have its only home scrimmage at 4 p.m. Friday against Friends University.
(HCC Sports Information)
JAYHAWK WEST COACHES POLL
1. Seward County
4. Cloud County
5. Dodge City
6. Garden City
JAYHAWK EAST COACHES POLL
4. Neosho County
6. Johnson County
7. Kansas City
10. Fort Scott