ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2019) — The ETSU men’s basketball team was tabbed the Southern Conference favorite, while three Buccaneers earned all-conference honors as the league office released its 2019-2020 preseason polls during Monday’s Media Day event in Asheville, N.C.
Redshirt senior forward Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic), junior guard Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) and sophomore guard Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) landed spots on the preseason all-conference team.
Rodriguez, a first team all-SoCon selection a year ago, became just the second player in program history to average a double-double for the season after posting 11.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The Buccaneer post player ranked eighth among NCAA Division I players in rebounds per game (10.9), 12th in total rebounds (361) and 23rd in double-doubles (15) last season. Rodriguez etched his name into the Buccaneer record book, as his 113 offensive rebounds broke Zakee Wadood’s single-season record of 108, set in 2001-02, while the Buccaneer redshirt senior forward’s 361 total rebounds were tied for sixth-most by an ETSU player.
Hodges also earned all-conference honors last season as he averaged 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29 games for the Blue and Gold. The 2018 SoCon Freshman of the Year finished the season strong as he averaged 13.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, along with shooting 56 percent in his final 11 games. Hodges scored in double figures seven times during that stretch run, including a 26-point, 12-rebound performance in the win at VMI for his first collegiate double-double.
In his first season in the Blue and Gold, Williamson averaged 9.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 33 games (16 starts) en route to earning all-freshman team honors. The Winston-Salem, N.C. native started 15 straight games from Dec. 21 to Feb. 14 where the Bucs went 12-3, including winning the first eight games. Williamson had a his breakout game at Illinois where he scored 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting. From there, Williamson scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting at The Citadel in January and added two more 20-point performances against VMI twice where he scored 23 and 20 points, respectively.
The Bucs, who were the only team to have three players earn all-conference honors, return four starters and their top six scorers from a year ago. ETSU finished last season with 24 wins – the fourth consecutive year with 20-plus wins – and was tied for third in SoCon play with 13 victories. The Bucs appeared in postseason play for the 17th time in program history after playing in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Both the coaches and media preseason polls were identical.
The Bucs received eight of the nine possible first-place votes in the coaches poll to accumulate 80 points. UNCG picked up the other two first-place nods and totaled 74 points, with Furman (61 points), Wofford (52 points) and Samford (48 points) rounding out the top-five. Chattanooga, Western Carolina, Mercer, The Citadel and VMI capped off the poll.
The Bucs are the preseason favorites for the first time since rejoining the league in 2014-15 and for the first time since being picked to win the North Division in 2004-05.
UNCG’s Isaiah Miller, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, was named preseason player of the year. Miller was joined by teammate James Dickey on the preseason all-conference team. To go with trio of Bucs and Spartan duo, Wofford’s Nathan Hoover, Furman’s Jordan Lyons, Mercer’s Ross Cummings, Samford’s Josh Sharkey and Western Carolina’s Carlos Dotson made up the remaining preseason team.
After hosting Limestone in an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 1, ETSU will open the 2019-2020 season at home against Newberry on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The Bucs will play 18 games inside Freedom Hall this season, while also making trips to Kansas and LSU.
Season tickets for the upcoming 2019-2020 season are currently available starting at $125. To purchase tickets, please call the ETSU Ticket Office at 423-439-3878 or purchase them online at ETSUBucs.com.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.