Naba Echols named preseason player of the year, Wildcats picked second in GLIAC North

MARQUETTE – Senior Naba Echols was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year with the Northern Michigan University Men’s Basketball picked to finish second in the GLIAC North this season.

Echols returns after tying for the team’s lead with 17.5 points and also led the team in assists. Senior Isaiah Johnson also averaged 17.5 points per game and paced the Wildcats in rebounding and in three-point shooting percentage. The pair were both named First Team All-GLIAC last season, giving the men’s team their first First Team selections since the 2008 season were both selected to the Preseason All-Conference Teams. Echols was tabbed Second Team All-GLIAC after the 2016-17 season.

Also returning to the team are juniors Sam Taylor and Myles Howard who both were named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team after the 2017-18 season. Taylor finished with a team-high 40 steals while Howard finished second in the league in blocked shots.

Joining the squad this season are local freshman Hart Holmgren and two from Illinois in freshmen Ben Wolf and Naseer Turner. Holmgren and Turner will look to help on the perimeter while Wolf seeks to provide a strong inside presence.

The Wildcats were selected second in the GLIAC North, voted on by the league’s coaches. NMU received 47 points along with three first-place votes. Ferris State University, the defending NCAA Division II National Championships were selected to win the North and received 58 points with nine first-place votes. Michigan Technological University was picked third with 43 points and did not receive any first-place votes. Lake Superior State University, University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Purdue University-Northwest round out the GLIAC North Division.

Ashland University was picked to win the South Division with 60 points and 10 first place votes. Grand Valley State University was selected second with 51 points and two first place votes. Davenport University came in third with Saginaw Valley State University and Wayne State University both tied for fourth with Northwood University in sixth.

The Wildcats are coming off their first GLIAC Tournament appearance since the 2005-06 season and will look to use the experience and success they earned in 2017-18 to make a play toward a home GLIAC Tournament game and the GLIAC title. NMU gets started by visiting Michigan State University in an exhibition game October 30 in Breslin Center. They will begin regular season play by hosting McKendree University November 10 in the Berry Events Center as part of the GLIAC vs. Great Lakes Valley Conference Challenge.