WICHITA — The Bethel College basketball teams were not given huge votes of confidence at Tuesday’s Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Media Day in Wichita. The Bethel men were picked ninth out of 10 teams in both the media and coaches polls. The Thresher women were picked 10th in both polls. The Bethel men return 10 players for second-year head coach Alonzo Jamison, along with 15 newcomers. “What a year it was last year,” Jamison said. “It was a very big learning year for me on the court and off the court. We have a great group of kids last year. Most of the time, we were in games in the second half — or until the second half of the second half of games. Last year, I said we were short, young and inexperienced. This year, we’re still young and inexperienced.” Bethel’s leading returnee is junior guard Lee Griffith, named to the pre-season all-conference team. Also back are John Watson and Alonzo Haywood after redshirt years last year. “I am excited about this year. We have 15 new guys, and nine of them are freshmen. Six are local kids. Four come from the I-135 corridor. Three other kids are from the Texas area. We have four transfers — one from Brown Mackie, two from Allen County and one from Illinois Valley. We have a lot more athletes this year. We’re still kind of short, still kind of young and still kind of inexperienced.” The Bethel men were 4-23 last year, 4-14 in KCAC play. The Bethel women return just four letterwinners from last season, losing two starters — April Harpe and Chelsea Harris to redshirt seasons. Bethel brings in four freshmen. “I don’t know much about our team this year,” Bethel coach Mark Fox said. “We have four letterwinners returning. We have zero returning starters. That’s why I say I don’t know much about our team. Last year, we had 25 players on our roster. This year, we have 15. Twenty-five is great in terms of having a JV schedule and some depth. When you have that large of a roster, it creates some problems. We had more kids into me than we last year. I can tell you about this group, they are a family. They have taken an us-against-the-world mentality. They have each other’s backs.” Bethel was 11-15 last season, 7-11 in KCAC play. The women lost in the quarterfinals of the KCAC post-season tournament to Southwestern. “It will be an interesting year for us,” Fox said. “It might be the most fun I’ve had at Bethel because of the mentality of the kids. We may not win a game — I have no idea. But we will compete hard. This is a fantastic group of young ladies to be around.” The University of Saint Mary men and Southwestern women were both named favorites for this season in both the coaches and media polls. The Saint Mary men went 25-6 last season, 15-3 in KCAC play. The Spires took second in the conference tournament to McPherson and reached the NAIA Division II tournament, losing in the first round to Indiana-Southeast 77-67. The Spires have three pre-season all-conference selections in JEB Greenberg, Kevin Harvey and Jordan Wilcox. McPherson, which reached the NAIA Division II final four last season, was picked second in both polls. Ottawa was third in both polls, followed by Sterling and Friends. The Southwestern women finished 23-9, 15-3 in conference play. The Moundbuilders lost by one point to Sterling in the KCAC tournament finals and by two points to Mount Mercy in the first round of the NAIA Division II tournament. Two Southwestern players were named to the pre-season all-conference team — Zefiryn Bryan and Kaitlin Tennyson. Friends was picked second by the coaches, followed by Sterling, Kansas Wesleyan and Ottawa. Sterling was picked second by the media, followed by Friends, Ottawa and Saint Mary. The Bethel men and women both open the season Nov. 1 against Central Christian. The women play Central at home, while the men play in McPherson.
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Pre-season polls (First place votes in parenthesis) Coaches MEN 1. Saint Mary (9) 90 2. McPherson 74 3. Ottawa (1) 73 4. Tabor 70 5. Sterling 59 6. Friends 49 7. Southwestern 40 8. Bethany 38 9. Bethel 25 10. Kansas Wesleyan 22 WOMEN 1. Southwestern (6) 84 2. Friends (3) 81 3. Sterling 69 4. Kansas Wesleyan (1) 64 5. Ottawa 62 6. Tabor 57 7. McPherson 40 8. Saint Mary 37 9. Bethany 25 10. Bethel 21 Media MEN 1. Saint Mary (7) 88 2. McPherson (2) 78 3. Ottawa 64 4. Tabor 63 5. Sterling 52 6. Friends 46 7. Bethany 37 8. Southwestern 35 9. Bethel 18 10. Kansas Wesleyan 14 WOMEN 1. Southwestern (3) 90 2. Sterling (4) 88 3. Friends (2) 84 4. Ottawa 55 5. Saint Mary 54 6. Kansas Wesleyan 53 7. Tabor (1) 49 8. McPherson 46 9. Bethany 16 10. Bethel 15 All-KCAC Pre-season Team MEN G JEB Greenberg-u/1t, Saint Mary, 6-2, sr., Leavenworth F Ryan Chippeaux-u/1t, Tabor, 6-7, sr., Wichita G Samson Shivers-u-hm, McPherson, 6-0, jr., Houston F Adam Brown-u-hm, Sterling, 6-4, sr., Houston F Corey Smith-1t, Ottawa, 6-6, sr., Burlington G Kevin Harvey-1t-fy, Saint Mary, 6-2, sr., Athens, Texas G Lee Griffin-hm, Bethel, 6-2, jr., San Antonio G Trey Beachum-u-hm, Bethany, 6-1, sr., Dallas G Jordan Wilcox-hm, Saint Mary, 5-11, sr., Holcomb G Lawson Kingsley, Tabor, 5-10, sr., Sedgwick 1t 2011-2012 All-KCAC First Team selection hm 2011 – 2012 All-KCAC Honorable Mention selection fy 2011-2012 KCAC Newcomer of the Year u 2012-2013 Preseason Team Unanimous selection WOMEN F Zefiryn Bryan-u/1t, Southwestern, 6-0, jr., Delphos, Ohio F Stephanie Frost-u/1t, Kansas Wesleyan, 5-10, sr., Assaria F Abril Marshall-u/1t, Friends, 6-0, sr., Tulsa, Okla. G Katlyn Mary-u/1t, Tabor, 5-7, sr., Joshua, Texas G Kaitlin Tennyson-u-hm-d, Southwestern, 5-11, jr., Andover F Amber Ramsey, Ottawa, 5-11, jr., Olathe G Kayla Eilert-d, Sterling, 5-6, sr., Whitewater F Lori Dauer-f, Sterling, 5-11, so., Falun G Brittany Pittas-f-fy, McPherson, 5-6, so., Chicago F Tasha Wagoner-hm, Bethany, 5-8, sr., Colby 1t 2011-2012 All-KCAC First Team selection hm 2011-2012 All-KCAC Honrable Mention selection f2011-2012 KCAC Freshman Team fy 2011-2012 KCAC Freshman of the Year d 2011-2012 KCAC Defensive Team u 2012-2013 Preseason Team Unanimous Pick