JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 18, 2019) – Chris Dortch’s Blue Ribbon College Yearbook released its preseason Southern Conference predictions and the ETSU men’s basketball team was tabbed to win the conference, while redshirt senior forward Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) was named Preseason Player of the Year.
Junior Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) joined Rodriguez on the preseason all-SoCon team.Both Hodges and Rodriguez earned all-conference honors a year ago. Rodriguez registered 15 double-doubles, along with averaging 11.2 points and 10.9 rebounds in 33 games, becoming just the second player in program history to average a double-double for the season. Hodges averaged 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29 games last season.
The Bucs return their top six scorers and four of their five starters from last season’s team that won 24 games. Overall, the Blue and Gold return over 80 percent of their scoring, 77 percent of their rebounding and 88 percent of their three-point shooting.
As a team, ETSU ranked second nationally last season in rebound margin (+10.1), 14th in field goal percentage (.486) and rebounds per game (39.7), 17th in offensive rebounds per game (13.09), 27th in scoring margin (9.9), 29th in total rebounds (1,351) and 30th in assists per game (15.7).
Head coach Steve Forbes enters his fifth season at the helm and has won 100 games over his first four years, marking the most victories over a four-year stretch in program history. Forbes is also only one of 24 active NCAA Division I head coaches to post 20-plus wins over the last four seasons at the same school.
The remaining SoCon preseason poll featured in this order: Furman, UNCG, Wofford, Samford, Chattanooga, Western Carolina, Mercer, The Citadel and VMI.
Joining Rodriguez and Hodges on the preseason team were UNCG’s James Dickey and Isaiah Miller and Furman’s Jordan Lyons. Chattanooga’s Matt Ryan was named Newcomer of the Year.