Courtesy of Pressbox D.C.
by Steve Jones
The 2014-15 season was a high-water mark for the Washington, D.C., area's NCAA Division III basketball teams. Catholic University, Gallaudet and Marymount combined for a 60-20 record, while Catholic earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
At the NCAA Division II level, Bowie State also put together an outstanding campaign, winning 22 games and tying for first place in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Northern Division.
With many top players returning, the area's top teams should make another run at conference titles and NCAA bids.
Catholic University didn't win the Landmark Conference tournament. But the Cardinals still received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, a sign of the respect that the program has earned on the national level.
The Cardinals, who reached the second round of the NCAAs, are expected to be one of the nation's top Division III teams this season. Head coach Steve Howes' squad, which hosts Neumann during its Nov. 14 opener, is ranked sixth in the D3hoops.com preseason rankings.
Catholic returns all five starters from last year's team, which finished at 23-6 and won the Landmark Conference's regular-season title. The Cardinals have several go-to players, most notably Bryson Fonville (16.7 points, 5.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals per game). The senior guard, who earned the Landmark Conference's Player of the Year award and was an honorable mention All-American selection during the 2014-15 campaign, was named a preseason first-team All-American by D3hoops.com. Sophomore forward Jay Howard (17 points, six rebounds per game) was chosen as the conference's Rookie of the Year. Junior forward Corey Stanford (14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds per game) will add production and leadership to a formidable lineup. Senior guard Kyle Phanord (9.8 points, 2.3 rebounds) is the reigning Landmark Defensive Player of the Year. Senior forward Austin Calling (6.6 points, 4.9 rebounds) is another effective option in the low post.
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