Darko-Kelly (copy)

With national player of the year candidate Zaccheus Darko-Kelly leading the way, Providence is ranked No. 11 in the NAIA preseason men's basketball poll -- highest in program history.

GREAT FALLS — The Providence men's basketball team is picked 11th in the first NAIA Top 25 poll, highest in school history.

"We're honored to be considered that high," Argos coach Steve Keller said in a press release from the school. "We're really pleased with the respect we got. Once again it's motivation for us to prove that we deserve that."

Providence is one of two Frontier Conference teams ranked. Carroll is 21st. Lewis-Clark State, formerly of the Frontier Conference, is fifth.

Georgetown (Ky.) is the preseason No. 1.

This year is the first year the NAIA will combine Division I and Division II into one division. Last year, there were nine conferences at the Division I level; this year there are 21 with 249 teams.

Last season, the Argos attained their highest ranking in history at No. 8 midway through the season. UP is led by Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, a finalist for national player of the year this past season.

"We're happy with how things are going at this point," Keller said in a school press release. "We have been fortunate to be able to get some pretty good players to come play here. They've bought into what we want to do on and off the floor. I'm happy with how things are going."

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