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Men's basketball makes NAIA Top 25

December 2nd, 2019

Legacy star

Almost 16 years to the day from the last time Thresher men's basketball was ranked, the Nov. 27 NAIA Division II Top 25 Men's poll has Bethel sitting among the nation's best at #22.

Bethel is off to one of its best starts in program history with a 9-1 overall record on the year, which includes a current 4-0 record in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, the best conference start since the 1998-99 team began their conference schedule 11-0.

Head Coach Jayson Artaz is in his second year at the helm of Thresher men's basketball, after being the lead assistant for four seasons under Tony Hoops (now the Bethel athletics director). Artaz and his staff were able to help Bethel finish with a 15-15 record last season, their first time recording at minimum a .500 overall record since 2003-04.

"This is exciting for our program and the growth that we have had over the last couple of years," said Artaz. "It just shows how much work and buy-in our players have had this year. I'm happy for those players to see some early rewards. Now we have to continue to work harder than ever before to show that we are deserving of the ranking."

The last time the Threshers were ranked, in fact, was during the 2003-04 season when Artaz, Hoops and current assistant Ryan Lohfink were all juniors on the team. An unranked Bethel squad started the year 7-1 in non-conference action and appeared at #15 on the Top 25 poll on December 2, 2003. The Threshers finished the year at 17-12 but lost their next three games following the Dec. 2 poll.

Determined to make sure this ranking is not a fluke is a Thresher squad filled with both multi-year starting veterans and young talent.

Leading the charge for #22 Bethel is Jaylon Scott, sophomore from Allen, Texas, the 2018-19 KCAC Freshman of the Year who currently leads the entire country across all divisions of basketball with 125 rebounds while averaging a career-high 17.2 points/game.

Joining Scott with double-digit scoring figures are seniors Garrett White, San Antonio, Texas, and Poe Bryant, Edmond, Okla., at 14.5 and 12.8 points/game, respectively, who are each having career-best senior campaigns.

Seniors Dakota Foster, Moore, Okla., and Greg White, San Antonio, have also been shooting threats from deep this year, while the Bethel backcourt players Terrell Marshall, senior from Tulsa, and Clifford Byrd II, sophomore from Memphis, Texas, have been terrorizing Bethel opponents this season. Marshall leads the team with 32 assists, while Byrd's 22 steals are the 16th highest in the NAIA so far.

The Threshers are currently one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the KCAC standings, along with (RV) Kansas Wesleyan.

Bethel visited NCAA DII Northwest Oklahoma State Nov. 30 for an exhibition matchup, and has three KCAC games this week, beginning with a trip to #12 Ottawa University tonight (Dec. 2).

2019-2020 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 – Poll 1 (Nov. 27)

RANK LAST WEEK SCHOOL [1st PLACE VOTES] RECORD FINAL POINTS
1 2 Oregon Tech [10] 9-0 311
2 4 Morningside (Iowa) [1] 7-0 302
3 4 Indiana Wesleyan [1] 7-1 293
4 8 Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 9-0 281
5 3 College of Idaho 6-2 267
6 6 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 5-0 260
7 1 Spring Arbor (Mich.) 5-2 252
8 11 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 8-1 236
9 9 Madonna (Mich.) 7-2 212
10 15 Marian (Ind.) 5-1 210
11 RV Washington Adventist (Md.) 6-1 207
12 NR Ottawa (Kan.) 8-0 201
13 RV Ave Maria (Fla.) 7-0 188
14 11 Cornerstone (Mich.) 7-2 173
15 24 Saint Francis (Ind.) 10-0 172
16 10 IU Kokomo (Ind.) 7-2 168
17 18 Southern Oregon 4-2 151
18 21 Warner (Fla.) 8-1 143
19 RV Bethel (Ind.) 8-0 137
20 NR St. Ambrose (Iowa) 7-1 108
21 17 Union (Ky.) 5-3 102
22 NR Bethel (Kan.) 9-1 97
23 25 Dordt (Iowa) 6-3 91
24 RV Corban (Ore.) 6-3 75
25 NR Saint Xavier (Ill.) 7-1 68
 

Dropped Out: Oklahoma Wesleyan, Indiana East, Bellevue (Neb.)

Receiving Votes: Michigan-Dearborn 56, Indiana Southeast 44, Northwestern (Iowa) 43, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 31, Kansas Wesleyan 16, Oklahoma Wesyalan 13, Cal Maritime 12, Eastern Oregon 11, Southeastern (Fla.) 8, Holy Cross (Ind.) 7, Mount Marty (S.D.) 5, Montreat (N.C.) 5, Lourdes (Ohio) 4, Indiana East 3

Bethel College, a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887, is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the only Kansas private college listed in Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section for 2018-19 and U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges 2018. Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates according to career-resources site Zippia.com. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

In sports, Bethel is a member of the 13-school KCAC and the NAIA. See more at bethelthreshers.com Josh Booth

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.