HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech men's basketball team is gearing up for the start of the 2017-18 season following a strong finish a year ago. The Huskies closed the 2016-17 campaign with an overall record of 16-14 and tied for second in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division standings. Tech generated a record of 13-8 against conference opponents last season.
Michigan Tech was picked third in the North Division in the 2017 GLIAC Preseason Poll, which was released on Wednesday by the conference office. Ferris State was selected to the top spot with 66 points and 11 first place votes. Lake Superior State was second in the North Division with 51 points followed by Tech at number three. In the South Division, the top three spots are occupied by Ashland at number one with 63 points and eight first place votes followed by Wayne State at number two (58 points) and Saginaw Valley State at number three (46 points).
Michigan Tech hosted a GLIAC Quarterfinal tournament game and advanced to the conference tournament final four, nearly upsetting Ferris State on the road in the semifinals. The Huskies will have a great deal of experience to build this year's team on with four of five starters returning for 2017-18. Three of the four players averaged 13.1 or more points per game.
Junior forward Kyle Monroe was the leading scorer for Tech a year ago at 20.1 points per game and will be counted on to help power the offense again this season. Monroe was a 1st Team All-GLIAC selection along with being named to the CCA All-Region 2nd Team and NABC All-District 2nd Team. Monroe made 48.8% of his shots from the field and grabbed 7.2 rebounds per contest. Monroe has already surpassed 1,000 career points and enters the season with 1,027 total career points. He is a GLIAC Preseason All-Conference selection for the second year in a row.
Joining Monroe in the front court this season will be senior forward A.J. Grazulis, who started all 30 games for the Huskies last year. Grazulis knocked down nearly 60% of his shots from the field and averaged seven points per game with an additional 3.5 rebounds per contest.
At the guard position junior Bryan Heath is back after pouring in just over 13 points per game as a sophomore last year. Heath is also the team's top returning free throw shooter, cashing in on 88.8% of his looks at the charity stripe in 2016-17. Sophomore Tommy Lucca will be back at point guard following a breakout freshman season that saw him named 2nd Team All-GLIAC and GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Lucca was the second leading scorer for the Huskies last year with a 15.7 points per game scoring average. He also paced the team in assists by dealing out nearly five per contest.
Michigan Tech also added an exciting group of talented freshmen players during the offseason. Elisha Coleman (Minneapolis, Minn.), TeeAaron Powell (Chicago, Ill.), Dawson Bilski (Powers, Mich.), Trent Bell (Negaunee, Mich.), and Kyle Clow (Germantown, Wis.) will look to help the Huskies this upcoming season.
The Huskies will tip-off the 2017-18 season on Saturday November 11th at home against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside at 6 p.m. This year's schedule features 15 home contests, including the season opener.
The 2017-18 GLIAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll will be released Thursday at 11 a.m. The official GLIAC press release can be viewed by clicking here.