Men’s basketball places third, women’s tied for sixth in 2022-23 MAAC preseason basketball poll

By Jake Tiger

On Oct. 18, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) released its 2022-23 preseason basketball poll, including Preseason All-MAAC teams and early rankings for both the men and women.

Rider men’s basketball came in at third in the preseason poll, only being surpassed by Iona and Manhattan, who ranked first and second respectively.

“Every year is different,” Rider men’s basketball Head Coach Kevin Baggett said in a recent conversation with media. “We’ve got some returning guys that still have that fire … now we’ve got to get all the other guys who are new on our roster … going and understanding the sense of urgency this year.”

Meanwhile, Rider women’s basketball tied with Marist for sixth in the MAAC’s preseason rankings. Considering Rider’s disappointing finish last year, this did not come as a shock to women’s basketball Head Coach Lynn Milligan.

“We finished ninth last year, so I can’t say that I’m surprised,” said Milligan in an interview with The Rider News. “If anything, maybe it puts a little chip on some of our shoulders.”

Carolo Pascale/The Rider News

Junior guard Makayla Firebaugh was the sole Bronc to make a preseason team for women’s basketball, earning Preseason All-MAAC third team after being selected to the second team in last season’s preseason poll.

On the men’s side, three players were recognized in the preseason poll, including senior guard Dwight Murray Jr. being given Preseason All-MAAC first team distinction for the second consecutive year.

“I’m already missing him knowing this is going to be his senior year,” said Baggett. “Everything that he brings to our program: his leadership off the court … who he is as a person on the court.”

In addition, senior forward Mervin James and senior guard Allen Powell both made Preseason All-MAAC third team, their first-ever All-MAAC awards.

After over seven months, Rider basketball will make its return on Oct. 29 when the men’s basketball team hosts Cabrini University for an exhibition match. The women’s basketball team will follow suit on Nov. 2 when it invites The College of New Jersey to Alumni Gym.

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