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California Pacific Conference

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Even with Cal Maritime favored by California Pacific Conference coaches to repeat as conference champions, the landscape of men's basketball will change dramatically in the conference this winter when teams from Lancaster, Calif., and Prescott, Ariz., join the fold.  Antelope Valley and Embry-Riddle, already familiar programs in the Cal Pac, will introduce men's basketball teams this season. 

Additionally, two familiar faces will work the sidelines for different programs.  Robert Castillo, recently the women's head coach at La Sierra, returns to the men's side this season.  Castillo was also the men's head coach at Pacific Union prior to heading south and taking over the women's program four years ago.  Also, Kevin Pham, who guided the UC Merced women to the Cal Pac Tournament championship and a berth in the NAIA national tourney, moves over to the Bobcats' men's program.

 

Simpson will tip off the 2015-16 campaign when the Red Hawks host Eastern Oregon this Friday, Oct. 23.  For a list of next week's preseason games, see below.

  

THE CAL PAC COACHES PRESEASON POLL

Team (first place votes)

2014-15 Cal Pac Record

Overall

1.  Cal Maritime (6)

9-1

19-10

2.  Simpson

8-2

19-17

3.  Pacific Union

6-4

11-17

4.  Antelope Valley (1)

--

--

5.  La Sierra

5-5

5-20

6.  Embry-Riddle

--

--

7.  UC Merced

0-10

1-28

  

CAL MARITIME

The Keelhaulers, who have represented the Cal Pac at the NAIA National Championship the past four seasons, has been voted by the coaches as the favorite for a fifth appearance.  CMA returns four players who earned All-Cal Pac distinction last campaign, and a promising group of newcomers--led by a strong freshman class--should fill any gaps in head coach Bryan Rooney's system.  The Keelhaulers face a daunting non-conference schedule that will greatly test them including match-ups with several national tournament caliber teams.

 

First Teamers Kameron Hoyt and Zach Davis provide offense from the outside and inside, respectively, and all-purpose guard Roman Delgado, a Second Team selection, provides skill and experience at both ends of the court. Clayton White, a senior point guard, was an Honorable Mention last year, is ready to take over the reins of the offense.

 

Redshirt junior Daniel Radford and senior Alec Fetzer will provide offense from the perimeter, and San Francisco State transfer Malik Edwards will provide some inside depth.  Also, a trio of first year players look to get some playing time right away:  Devin WilliamsHunter Johnson, and Jansen Smith have already shown they can compete with the veterans in the program.

  

SIMPSON

Last year Simpson arguably fielded the conference's most talented starting five--including the Player of the Year and the Defender of the Year--a group of seniors who narrowly missed an opportunity to advance to the national stage.  Those five are gone, but this year Jim Holcomb, the reigning Coach of the Year, brings back more than enough experience, size, and depth to make another long postseason run.

 

Simpson again will have a very tough preseason, going up against three NCAA DII programs and one NCAA DI team.  The Red Hawks will be led by senior guards Marc Kirkland and Sam Siler, both of whom played significant quality minutes last season.  Rufus Humphrey and Josh Delamarter provide Simpson with power underneath the basket, andMarcus Brown figures to earn plenty of playing time at one of the guard spots.

 

The Red Hawks will bring in five transfers, most notably Jacob Kaler, who comes from a Southern Oregon program that has been among the nation's best the past five years.  Two redshirts, freshman Josh Brakkee and junior Earl Schexnayder also should add depth to the Simpson rotation.

  

PACIFIC UNION

The Pioneers will return eight players while adding nine new athletes to the program.  PUC has a strong preseason schedule, facing off against five NCAA DI and five NCAA DII opponents.  That challenging preseason will be navigated by some talented returning players and supported by some even more talented newcomers.  Heading the list of returning players is Greg Brown, the Newcomer of the Year last season who led the conference in scoring at a 17.1 clip, shooting a percentage (.383) that ranked him third in the Cal Pac.

 

Joining Brown is point guard Devon Marshall, the third leading scorer on last year's team.  Tee Maxwell, the team's second leading rebounder, returns for his senior season.

 

PUC added some size and speed to the frontcourt, bringing in 6-10 Christopher Dorsey from Moorpark College and 6-4 Cortez Barrett, a transfer from Chabot.  The Pioneers also deepened the talent pool on the perimeter, signing senior Mike Hill, a transfer from CSU Dominguez Hills, Lamar Brewer, a freshman from CSU Monterey Bay, and Santa Ana College transfer Chad Young.

  

ANTELOPE VALLEY

The Pioneers' head coach Brad Rogers signed 19 recruits for their inaugural season.  UAV will play a very wide range of opponents in the preseason, slated to play five NCAA D1 games and two against GSAC opponents.

 

The Pioneers will be competitive right away under Rogers, a former Arizona Christian assistant.  He picked up two transfers from four-year programs, a number of junior college transfers, and some talented freshmen.   The top newcomers for UAV include Bryan Harris, a guard from Utah State Eastern, Miles Nolen-Webb, a freshman who transferred over from CSU Northridge, and two junior college forwards:  Franky Teran from Chandler (Ariz.) and Faruk Oyalade from Pasadena City.  Jacob Bowman, a 6-6 freshman from Hillcrest Prep in Arizona, could also have a big impact.

  

LA SIERRA

With a new staff, new defense, and new offense, the Golden Eagles hope to battle through the transition of the program.  This year's squad consists of 10 returning players from last year's roster and five new faces.

 

Two of those returnees are very familiar face to Cal Pac opponents.  Andre Marquez, a First Team pick last year who averaged 13 points per outing while leading the conference in field goal percentage (.442).  His scoring ability complements the inside presence of Kevin Batiste, a sophomore post player who was second in total rebounds per game last season (6.6) and first in blocks (1.2), garnering him Honorable Mention.

 

The Golden Eagles also return two players who came off the bench last season but will be called on to play more significant roles this campaign--forward Lance Jones and point guard Isaac Deese.

 

The top newcomers for LSU are freshman guard Kyle Hamilton and junior transfers Keenan BradenNikko Turner, and Gerald Williams.

  

EMBRY-RIDDLE

Entering its inaugural season of men's basketball, ERAU head coach Eric Fundalewicz will field a young team that looks to compete on a nightly basis.  The Eagles will have nine freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior, so Fundalewicz expects some growing pains for his squad. 

 

Like all the Cal Pac programs, the Eagles scheduled a rugged preseason to prepare for the conference campaign, and three recruits have stood out in the early preparations of the long season.  Jaran Hoover, a 6-3 transfer from Northern Arizona, will be a key on the perimeter, Spencer Carroll, coming to ERAU from Southeastern Oklahoma State, will provide and inside-outside presence, and Calvin Carmichael, a 6-8 freshman from Tucson, Ariz., looks to be a factor underneath.

  

UC MERCED

Joshua Kimble and George Olumba return for the Bobcats, giving Pham two potent weapons to build around.  A Second Team All-Cal Pac pick last season, Kimble led UCM in scoring, pouring in 13.6 points per game as a freshman.  Olumba, an Honorable Mention as a junior, is an athletic player who can play inside and out.

 

UCM also brings back Ryan Edwards, last year's second leading scorer at 11 points per contest.  He is joined byDaniel Pugh, who was fifth in the Cal Pac in rebounding, pulling down 5.4 per game.

 

The Bobcats add three freshmen who could make an immediate impact:  6-7 twins Aaron and Matthew Laflin andBranson Garcia.

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