NEW ORLEANS — For the first time in eight seasons, Xavier University of Louisiana is the preseason pick to win the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship.
The XULA men received 4-of-7 first-place votes from GCAC head coaches. The GCAC, which announced the poll Monday, did not include total points.
XULA returns seven of its top 10 scorers from last season’s team, which was 27-6, won GCAC regular-season and tournament championships, ranked 10th in NAIA Division I and set a XULA season record with 254 made 3-pointers. Leading the returnees are:
Rayshawn Mart, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who last season became the first XULA man to reach 500 points, 150 rebounds, 25 made 3s, 70 assists, 50 steals and shoot 50 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the line in the same season.
• Makye Richard, a 6-3 senior guard who became the first XULA player in 33 seasons to average at least 11 points, six rebounds and three assists per game.
• Ed Carter, a 6-1 senior guard who in 2019-20 made a school-season-record 49.5 percent of his 3-pointers (52-of-105).
• TJ Jones, a 5-8 sophomore guard who was GCAC co-Freshman of the Year and whose 130 assists ranked second among NAIA Division I freshmen.
Talladega was picked to finish second. The Tornadoes received two first-place votes. Dillard was picked third and received one first-place vote. Edward Waters, Tougaloo, Philander Smith and Rust finished 4-5-6-7.
XULA will open its 83rd season at home Oct. 21 — one week from Wednesday — in a 7:30 p.m. matchup at the Convocation Center with first-time opponent Southeastern Baptist of Laurel, Miss.
GCAC Men’s Basketball 2020-21 Coaches Poll
1. XULA (4)
2. Talladega (2)
3. Dillard (1)
4. Edward Waters
6. Philander Smith