The Eagles, two-time defending regular season champs, were picked by Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference coaches and sports information directors to win the MEAC title this year. But they return one starter, guard Dante Holmes.
"This year we have new guys, new faces, new personalities, but the culture is going to be the same," said head coach Levelle Moton. "That's the learning process, and the learning curve they're going through right now. They're getting to know me and I'm getting to know them, and all of the intangibles that come along with forming a new found relationship."
Holmes, who was picked to the 2015 Preseason All-MEAC second team, averaged 10.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game for a team that went 16-0 in the regular season, losing early in the MEAC title game by four points, but making a game appearance in the NIT tourney against the ACC's Miami (Fla) last season.
Joining seven new players will be holdovers Jay Copeland (a redshirt senior center who missed last year with an injury), guards Jeremiah Ingram, Jamal Ferguson, Rashaun Madison, Kevin Crawford, Marius McAllister, among others.
"Obviously we have a long way to go, but they're trying to buy in and it's going to be a different team," he said. "We're excited to say the least."
Hampton finished 17-18 last season, but won the MEAC tournament title. Led by the preseason All-MEAC trio in Quinton Chievous, Brian Darden and Jervon Pressley, the Pirates were picked to finish second, just ahead of Norfolk State, a team led by preseason MEAC Player of the Year guard Jeff Short.
Short was second in MEAC scoring last season with 19.1 points a game, ranking him 29th in the nation.
Here are the complete MEAC mens basketball preseason predictions and All-MEAC teams:
2015 MEAC Men's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
|1. North Carolina Central (16)||316 points|
|2. Hampton (9)||297 points|
|3. Norfolk State||283 points|
|4. UMES||249 points|
|5. Howard (1)||235 points|
|6. North Carolina A&T||163 points|
|7. Morgan State||159 points|
|8. South Carolina State (1)||144 points|
|9. Delaware State||138 points|
|10. Bethune-Cookman||135 points|
|11. Coppin State (1)||113 points|
|12. Savannah State||103 points|
|13. Florida A&M||31 points|
2015-16 Men's Basketball Preseason All-MEAC Teams
|Jeff Short||Norfolk State||G||6-4||205||R-Sr.||Bronx, N.Y.|
|James Daniel||Howard||G||5-10||165||Jr.||Hampton, Va.|
|Quinton Chievous||Hampton||G/F||6-6||215||Gr.||Chicago, Ill.|
|Bruce Beckford||N.C. A&T||F||6-7||215||Sr.||Silver Spring, Md.|
|Dominique Elliott||UMES||C||6-8||245||Sr.||Savannah, Ga.|
|Brian Darden||Hampton||G||6-2||183||Sr.||Hampton, Va.|
|Dante Holmes||N.C. Central||G||6-3||190||R-Sr.||Baltimore, Md.|
|D'Shon Taylor||Norfolk State||G/F||6-5||205||Sr.||Nassau, Bahamas|
|Cedric Blossom||Morgan State||F||6-6||225||Sr.||Columbia, Md.|
|Darryl Palmer||S.C. State||C||6-8||210||Sr.||Summerville, S.C.|
|Ricky Johnson||Bethune-Cookman||G||5-9||160||R-Sr.||Akron, Ohio|
|Devin Martin||UMES||G||6-4||205||Sr.||Baltimore, Md.|
|Greg Mortimer||S.C. State||G/F||6-3||191||Jr.||Savannah, Ga.|
|Brian Pearson||Savannah State||F||6-7||230||Sr.||Monroe, Ga.|
|Jervon Pressley||Hampton||C||6-8||250||Sr.||Charlotte, N.C.|