Northwood University basketball team ranked number one as coach Rollie Massimino battles cancer

In NAIA Division II Preseason Coaches' Poll

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For the first time in school history, the Northwood University basketball team is ranked number one in the NAIA Division II Preseason Coaches' Poll.

The Seahawks are coming off a trip to the Final Four last season, and feature All-American guard Jonathan Dunn. He says it's a good feeling to be the top team in the preseason, but he knows the work is only beginning.

Forward Patrick Horstmann is on the same page. "We not only want to be there now, we want to be there at the end so we're working hard every day to stay there."

Head coach Rollie Massimino just turned 77 years old on Saturday, and is still going strong. "What keeps me going is them. The energy that we try to exude, the fun, you know, I kid and joke and I can really go after 'em and knock 'em. I can't fight with 'em now, because of my surgery."

Massimino is battling lung cancer. It's certainly not the first time he's dealt with adversity, but this is a lot more serious than trying to beat Georgetown in 1985, or trying to rebuild UNLV in the early 90's.

Massimino says simply, "you've got to try to overcome it, you've got to try to persevere."

Dunn adds, "We just want to rally around it and kinda set this goal at the beginning of the year that we're going to do this -- accomplish the highest goal that we can for him so, that's the plan."

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