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Coaches pre-season picks-Mens

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Vermont Chosen to Repeat in America East Men's Basketball

BOSTON— Vermont, which won its second-consecutive Choice Hotels International America East Championship last season, has been chosen by the conferences coaches to make it three in a row.


The Catamounts, 22-9 overall last season (15-3 America East), received eight first-place votes and 80 points to outdistance defending regular-season champion Boston University. The Terriers received the two remaining first-place votes and 69 points. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams in the preseason voting.


Maine was chosen third with 64 points, followed by Northeastern (59). Binghamton, which finished fifth a season ago, was chosen in that position with 50 points. Hartford, one of two teams to advance to the semifinals in each of the last three years (Vermont is the other), was chosen sixth with 34 points.


Stony Brook (30), which advanced to the semifinals for the first time in its three-year history in America East, was selected seventh. Albany (28), New Hampshire (23) and UMBC (12) rounded out the poll.


Albany coach Will Brown expects his Great Danes to make great strides this season. After having as few as six players on his roster at times last season, Brown should have depth this season thanks to a pair of transfers and the return from injury of 2002-03 America East Rookie of the Year Jamar Wilson. Wilson, who finished second in the conference in scoring (18.9 ppg) in 2002-03, missed all but one game last year due to a broken knee cap. Levi Levine (14.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg) led the Great Danes in scoring and was second in rebounding. Jon Iati became the second-straight Great Dane named America East Rookie of the Year after leading all first-year players in scoring with 14.0 ppg. The 5-9 guard also led the nation in minutes played with 40.0 per game. Aquawasi St. Hillaire (9.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) ranked No. 6 in America East in rebounding in his first season after transferring from SUNY-Delhi. Brown also adds transfers Lucious Jordan (Loyola (Md.)) and Kirsten Zoellner (Boston College). Jordan, a 6-2 junior guard, led Loyola in scoring with 13.2 ppg in 2002-03. Zoellner is a 7-1 junior center who played 15 games in two seasons at Boston College.

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