2023-24 Men's Basketball Coaches Poll results
Last updated 10/25/2023 at 11:59am
from Montana State University-Northern
The 2023-24 Coaches Poll has been released and their predicted order of finish for men's basketball is as follows:
1. Montana Tech University
Tech returns a big group of players from last year's Elite 8 team at the NAIA National Tournament. The defending Frontier conference and conference tournament champions, under the direction of Head Coach Adam Hiatt, went 29-5 in 2022-23. The Diggers return Caleb Bellach, the pre-season MVP in the Frontier. Bellach is returning after a season-ending injury last year. The Diggers played without Bellach for the majority of the National Tournament and proved they have a lot of other weapons. The Tech team is deep and athletic and brings back all five starters from a year ago in Bellach, Chrishon Dixon, Michael Ure, Hayden Diekhans and Asa Williams. Williams was named the Newcomer of the Year in the Frontier last season.
2. Rocky Mountain College
The Battlin' Bears, under longtime Head Coach Bill Dreikosen, was picked to finish second in the coaches poll. The Bears will return plenty of talent including pre-season All-Conference picks Kael Robinson and Maxim Stephens. Both Stephens and Robinson were double-figure scorers a year ago, and they are joined by a third returner with double-digit scoring numbers, with Jesse Owens also returning to the lineup. The Bears finished 15-14 overall in 2022-2023 and finished in fifth place in the Frontier at 6-9.
3. Montana State University-Northern
With Coach Shawn Huse at the helm for his 22nd season, the Lights are coming off a 19-11 season in 2022-2023. Picked to finish third by the league coaches, the Lights return an excellent core from last year, including Freshman of the Year and 6th Man of the Year Dae'Kwon Watson as well as Myles Dalton, Zackry Martinez, and Jacob Randall. All four bring a good deal of experience to the lineup. Martinez and Watson both averaged nearly 10 points per game last season. The lineup will be bolstered by a high-quality recruiting class which includes both size and shooters. Newcomers to watch include 6-foot-7 forward J.J. Thomas, 6-foot-4 forward Anthony Mendez, and 6-foot-4 forward Xavier Bailey. All three were highly decorated and successful players in the junior college ranks.
4. University of Providence
The Argos will be led by first-year Head Coach J.C. Isakson, who is no stranger to the Frontier. Isakson played and coached at Montana-Western in the men's program, and was an assistant in both the Providence men's and women's programs. The Argos, who played in the conference tournament title game a year ago, are led by pre-season All-Conference pick Davian Harris-Williams. They return a great deal of experience from a team that went 14-16 and finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Frontier along with MSU-Northern and Carroll College. One newcomer who looks to make an immediate impact for the Argos is Freddy Brown III, a transfer from University of Montana.
5. Carroll College
The Fighting Saints will be led by new coach Ryan Lundgren. The Saints finished the 2022-23 season at 13-14 overall and in a three-way tie for third place at 7-8 in league play. The Saints return Andrew Cook, a pre-season all-conference selection. Cook averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 2022-2023. Cook is joined by a good returning group as well as a talented recruiting class. Lundgren has added a number of players to keep an eye on, including 7-foot-0 post player Zane Foster, a former NCAA Division I player at Central Michigan University, who will in all likelihood be the tallest player in the Frontier in recent memory. Another newcomer to keep an eye on is Kendall Moore, a 5-foot-11 guard from Chipola Junior College. In 2021, Moore was named the Freshman of the Year in the Cascade Conference while playing at Corban University.
6. University of Montana Western
Montana Western will also be led by a new men's coach this season. Pat Jensen, who played his college basketball at MSU-Northern, will take the reins of the Bulldog program. Jensen has been an assistant for the Bulldogs' for a number of years and will look to put his own stamp on the program in his first season. Michael Haverfield, a 6-foot-4 guard, is a key returner for the Bulldogs, who finished 11-18 overall and 6-9 in Frontier play in 2022-2023. The Bulldogs bolstered their roster with a big recruiting class of eight newcomers, including four junior college transfers who will look to make an immediate impact.