Men's basketball selected top team in MAAC Pre-Season Poll


Yorel HawkinsAfter being picked first in practically every pre-season college basketball publication, the Fairfield University men's basketball team added another number one selection to the pre-season list of accolades as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) head coaches selected the Stags as the team to beat in the 2010-11 MAAC Pre-Season Coaches Poll. The announcement was made during MAAC Media Day at B.B. King's in New York City this afternoon.

Fairfield collected 96 total points which included six of the 10 first-place votes cast by the coaches. Siena College picked up second place in the poll with 91 points and three first-place votes, while Saint Peter's College secured third place with 77 points and one top vote.

The rest of the poll included Iona College in fourth place with 73 points and Rider University rounding out the upper half of the conference with 51 points. Loyola University was sixth in the poll with 47 points, followed by Canisius College (45 points), Niagara University (40 points), Manhattan College (19 points), and Marist College (11 points).

"It's nice for the University and the program to be chosen as the top team," Head Coach Ed Cooley said. "It's a tremendous honor for our student-athletes as well. But I want to be the top team in March, so we need to work hard to be where we want to be at tournament time."

Two student-athletes were also rewarded with pre-season honors as sophomore Derek Needham (Dolton, Ill.) and senior Yorel Hawkins (Apex, N.C.) were placed on the pre-season All-MAAC teams. Needham was a first-team member, while Hawkins was a third-team selection.

Needham, the 2010 MAAC Rookie of the Year and a member of the 2010 All-MAAC and All-Rookie teams, is the MAAC's top returning scorer with a 16.4 scoring average. He also tops among returning student-athletes for assists, dishing off 5.2 per game last season. Needham scored in double figures in 33 of 34 games last season, and dished off seven or more assists nine times.

Hawkins appeared in 19 games last season before missing the months of February and March due to injury. Still, the forward was able to average 14.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures in 16 of his 19 appearances, and registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Canisius on January 2.

The men's basketball team opens the 2010-11 season on November 13 when it takes on Sacred Heart University in the first game of the Connecticut 6 Classic, which will be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game is slated for a 4 pm start.

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Media Contact: Jack Jones, (203) 254-4116

Posted on October 26, 2010