Panthers garner No. 7 preseason ranking from Street & Smith's

Wes McKinney shoots with Street & Smith's Preseason Top 10 poll to the right

HANOVER, Ind. – With less than two months from opening tip-off, the Hanover men's basketball team has earned its first national recognition of the 2017-18 season with a top-10 team ranking and an individual All-American award.

The 2017-18 Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook is now available at newsstands everywhere, and the Panthers are ranked No. 7 in its NCAA Division III preseason top 10. Senior Wes McKinney (Batesville, Ind.) is also recognized in the national magazine as a preseason second team All-American.

Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook releases a preseason magazine annually, taking an in-depth look at collegiate and professional basketball teams. This year, the magazine features 442 scouting reports on collegiate teams, which covers schools from NCAA Division I all the way to the junior college level.

Defending national champion, Babson (Mass.), sits atop the Division III rankings. Two schools Hanover faced during its run to the NCAA Sectional Finals last year are also on the top 10 list in Augustana (Ill.) and North Central (Ill.). Augustana, eventual national runner-up, knocked off the Panthers in the NCAA Round of Eight and come in at No. 5 in the preseason poll. North Central sits at No. 10 after bowing out to the Blue and Red, in Collier Arena, during the second round of the national tournament.

The Panthers will have the luxury of returning seven of their top eight scorers from last season, including four starters. The 2016-17 squad finished with a 26-4 overall mark, while also making the program's deepest run in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, the team won both the HCAC regular season and tournament titles en route to a No. 7 ranking in the final D3Hoops National Top 25 Poll.

McKinney, a D3Hoops fourth team All-American last season, will return for his senior campaign as the reigning HCAC Player of the Year. As a junior, the forward averaged a conference-best 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. McKinney's performance was also good enough to earn him CoSIDA second team academic All-American honors.

Hanover will open its regular season at the Thomas More (Ky.) Jim Connor Classic against Kent State-Tuscarawas (Ohio) and Otterbein (Ohio), Nov. 17 and 18. The Panthers will tune up for the season with an exhibition contest at NCAA Division I institution, Butler (Ind.), who advanced to the national "Sweet 16" last season.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu