In their preseason poll, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference men's basketball coaches have chosen the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg to win the league championship this season. 

After finishing second in the regular season standings, the Bobcats were upset by Frostburg State University at the AMCC tournament.  FSU has been picked to finish second this season, with Penn State Behrend voted to the #3 spot.

Pitt-Greensburg senior guard Kevin Conlon (Bellwood-Antis HS/Altoona, PA) was the coaches' selection as Preseason Player of the Year.  Conlon has been a member of the all-conference first team the past two seasons.  Last year he averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.96 assists and 1.58 steals to help UPG to a 14-13 record.

The AMCC welcomes three new members to the conference this season:  Hilbert College, Medaille College, and Mt. Aloysius College.  The conference will receive an automatic bid to the national tournament for the first time in 2004-05.    

Preseason Rankings:
1. Pitt-Greensburg
2. Frostburg State
3. Penn State Behrend
Preseason Player of the Year:
Kevin Conlon, Pitt-Greensburg



                            Team Previews/Players to Watch

FROSTBURG STATE (6-6 AMCC, 15-13 overall)
Junior center Dan Ryley (Frederick, Md./St. John's Prospect Hall) and junior guard Kamillo Rosenthal (Munich, Germany/Bishop Sullivan) lead a squad that features just four returning letter-winners from last year's AMCC Tournament runner-up team. Ryley was a second-team All-AMCC pick in 2003-04 after averaging 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and leading the Bobcats with 36 blocks. Rosenthal has missed the last year and a half with a foot injury but averaged 8.7 points and 2.7 rebounds and shot 43.1 percent (78-181) from three-point range in 42 career games with FSU.

HILBERT (5-21 overall)
The Hawks begin their first year of competition in the AMCC led by senior guard Sam Gioia (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West), a two-time first-team All-NEAC selection and team MVP (2002-03 and 2003-04).  Gioia, who averaged 15.0 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg last season, is also the all-time career assist leader at Hilbert (291).  Joining him will be Keon Rembert (Brooklyn, NY/Archbishop Walsh), a 6’6” forward who averaged 8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 1.0 spg while shooting 34% from 3-pt range.  Rembert started 25 of 26 games as a freshman last season, scoring a career-high 18 points at Lake Erie College.

LA ROCHE (5-7 AMCC, 14-14 overall)
Coming off a Cinderella season which saw them upset 2 higher seeds and win their first AMCC championship, the Redhawks envision starting from square one in 2004-05.  The squad will be led by senior guard Demetris Pringle (Pittsburgh, PA/Sto-Rox), who was in the midst of a monster season (19.0 ppg, 48% from three-point range) when he fractured his ankle with nine games remaining in the season.  Pringle was able to play through the injury and earned his spot on the AMCC All-Conference Second Team.  He will be joined by another senior guard, Carlo Dorazio (Pittsburgh, PA/Plum), who played in only four games last season after breaking his foot.  Dorazio is an experienced, versatile guard with excellent range on the perimeter.  Also expected to provide leadership is senior forward Ed Camic (Port Vue, PA/South Allegheny), who was lost midway through last season with his second concussion and played in only 15 games.

LAKE ERIE (5-7 AMCC, 9-17 overall)

The Storm is looking to improve on last year's sixth place finish, starting with leadership 
from last year's AMCC Newcomer of the Year Jajcen Harris (Cleveland Hts., OH/
VASJ).  Harris returns for his second season following a freshman campaign in which he
averaged 11.5 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game. The sophomore center Nate
Malensek (Burton, Ohio/Berkshire) comes into his final year following a disappointing
injury-plagued season.  The senior averaged 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds while also
totaling 16 blocked shots in only 14 games.

MEDAILLE (10-17 overall)

The Mavericks enter the AMCC fray for the first time, led by Rene Smith (Depew, NY/
South Park).  The senior forward was the North Eastern Athletic Conference Player of
the Year in 2003-04.  He led the team in scoring with 19.6 ppg and became the school's
all-time leading scorer.  Bolstering the front is returning senior forward Pierre Bryant
(Buffalo, NY/McKinley).  Bryant returns as the leading shot blocker in Medaille history, 
accomplishing that feat in one season.  In 2003-04 he averaged 13.7ppg; 8.7rpg and 2.7bpg.

MOUNT ALOYSIUS (5-20 overall)
Justin Ohler (Stoystown, PA/North Star) was the Mounties’ leading in 2003-04, averaging a double/double on the year with 18.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg.  The 6’2” junior also led his team in steals and blocks.  He was voted team MVP at the conclusion of last year.  Deron Knox (Los Angeles, CA/Victorville), a 6’3” senior from Los Angeles, CA, led the team in three-point attempts last season.  He was second on the team in rebounds, assists, and scoring, averaging 14.5 ppg.

PENN STATE ALTOONA (3-9 AMCC, 7-18 overall)
The Penn State Altoona men’s basketball team is hoping to build on last year’s 7-17 record and get deep into the AMCC tournament. The Lions will also be looking for a few players to step up and fill in the shoes of Brandon Battles and Justin Wolcott, two of the team’s leading scorers and rebounders from last year.  Players to watch include Rasheed Bey , a junior who suffered a broken leg prior to the 2003-2004 season; junior guard Ethan Stewart-Smith (Bellefonte, PA/Bellefonte), who averaged 8.5 ppg and 3.4 apg and was the team's best three-point shooter (39.6%); sophomore Barry Minemyer (Hastings, PA/Bishop Carroll); and freshmen Jay Stoltz and Will Shriver.

PENN STATE BEHREND (11-1 AMCC, 22-4 overall)
Last season was very memorable for the Behrend Lions. The program earned the AMCC regular-season championship, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and posted an impressive 22-4 overall record while leading all of Division III in scoring defense at 52.5 points per game.Senior starters Tom Lulich (Canonsburg/Peters Township) and Jared Clough (N. Andover, MA/Bridgton Academy) are players to watch.  Lulich, an all-conference player, had a very good year at guard and was exceptional leading the team in three-pointers made with 55, while shooting 40% from long distance.  He was second in the league in threes made per game. Lulich will be relied upon to improve his 9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 2.1 apg. In the paint, Clough will need to be effective again. He is a superb defensive player and makes the most of his offensive opportunities. Last season he earned 9.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg, while shooting a team-high 57% from the field and 75% from the charityipe. His impressive field-goal percentage was third best in the AMCC. 

PITT-BRADFORD (5-7 AMCC, 11-15 overall)
Pitt-Bradford’s nine-year run of 16 or more victories ended in 2003-04 as the Panthers suffered through an 11-15 campaign, which was the first losing season since head coach Andy Moore’s rookie year in 93-94. The Panthers return nine players including senior point guard Aaron Kiffer (Olean, NY/Olean), who averaged 5.9 ppg and 4.8 apg last season.  Also in the line-up will be sophomore guard Jess Whelan (Bradford, PA/Bradford), the Panthers' best three-point shooter (1.5 3FG per game) who was second on the team in scoring last year (9.0 ppg).

PITT-GREENSBURG (7-5 AMCC, 14-13 overall)
The Bobcats advanced to the AMCC semifinals last season, their first conference appearance in the final four since 2000.  Last year also marked their first consecutive winning seasons since 1999-2000.  The Bobcats hope to hit the ground running, returning 7 letterwinners and 3 starters.  Foremost among them is AMCC Preseason Player of the Year Kevin Conlon (Altoona, PA/Bellwood-Antis), a senior guard who was a first team all-AMCC selection in 2003 and 2004.  Last season he put up 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, and is the top returning scorer in AMCC.  Another key component of the Bobcats' line-up is junior forward Clint Mullen (Latrobe, PA/Latrobe), who averaged 8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and a 60.7 FG%.  This will be his third year as a starter.