The Hiram College men’s basketball team was picked to finish eighth in the 2012 North Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. [2012 NCAC Preseason Poll]
Hiram had 35 points to place eighth of 10 teams. Defending NCAC Tournament Champion The College of Wooster was picked as the favorite with 97 points and seven first-place votes. Ohio Wesleyan University was second with 89 points and three first-place votes. DePauw (Ind.) University rounded out the top-three with 72 points.
The Terriers will return three starters and 13 letterwinners in 2012-13. However, the Terriers will be without standout Jamaal Watkins who graduated last May.
Highlighting this year’s returners will be seniors Tom Herchek (Randolph/Waterloo), Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth), Justin Lonis (Mentor/Perrysburg), Justin Wisniewski(Macedonia/Nordonia) and Steve Zivoder (Garrettsville/Garfield). Sheppard was first amongst the returning seniors in scoring last year with a 12.5 points per game average on 116-of-266 shooting (43.6 percent). He was also second on the team in assists with 61. Wisniewski started all 26 games last season and led the team in assists with 128. He finished as the NCAA Division III Statistical Champion in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.27). Herchek, Lonis and Zivoder all saw playing time last season in backup roles.
Also back this winter will be junior Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls). Of all the returning players, Stefanov led the team in scoring last season at 14.0 ppg. on 41.8 percent (119-of-285) shooting. He also led the team in three pointers made (74) attempts (186) and percentage (.398).
Hiram will begin the 2012-13 season on Saturday, Nov. 24 when the Terriers host the University of Mount Union at Price Gymnasium. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.