Thursday, October 29, 2009

OVC men's picks and preseason team

The OVC released its men's basketball projected order of finish and preseason All-OVC team this morning (Thursday), and as earlier reported in The Star, Jacksonville State was picked sixth and didn't have a player on the preseason team.

Morehead State and Murray State were tabbed co-favorites, each receiving 10 first-place votes. It's the third time since 1980-81 (when preseason polls were first available) that co-favorites have been picked in the preseason poll (1991-92 and 1994-95).

It's the 13th time in the last 21 years that Murray State has been picked the preseason favorite and second year in a row. Morehead State is tabbed first for the first time since the 1983-84 season.

The teams play for the first time Dec. 5 in Murray.

The rest of the poll -- 3. Austin Peay (114), 4. Eastern Illinois (105), 5. Eastern Kentucky (93), 6. JSU (86), 7. Tennessee Tech (76), 8. UT Martin (55), 9. Tennessee State (44), 10. Southeast Missouri State (19).

You'll notice the teams with the new head coaches are the teams picked 8-9-10. SEMO was one vote shy of unanimously being picked last.

Morehead's Kenneth Faried headlines the 10-player preseason All-OVC team as preseason Player of the Year. He is coming off a season where he was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year and OVC Tournament MVP.

Faried ranked third nationally in rebounding (13.0/game), 52nd in blocked shots (1.9/game) and 69th in steals (1.9/game). He averaged 13.9 points per game and connected on 55.6 percent of his shots. He also had 25 double-doubles, second nationally behind only National Player of the Year Blake Griffin (29).

Morehead coach Donnie Tyndall called Faried "a great energy guy" who reminds him of Dennis Rodman and has a chance to lead the nation in rebounding this season – he is the top returning rebounder in country -- but that energy has been limited early-on by a series of injuries.

Faried missed two weeks with a bruised knee, came back and strained his shoulder that cost him a week, returned and bruised the same knee that sidelined him another week.

"He’s behind in regards to conditioning," Tyndall said. "Kenneth’s been a guy who always played extremely hard. As a freshman, he played 20 minutes, last year 30 and this year we’d like to play him 34-36, but if I had to say right now that wouldn’t be possible with the conditioning where it’s at. Those injuries have set him back, but he’s a worker."

Here's the team: Faried; Ivan Aska, Murray State; Wesley Channels, Austin Peay; Darius Cox, Tennessee State; Tyler Laser, Eastern Illinois; Romain Martin, Eastern Illinois; Isacc Miles, Murray State; Maze Stallworth, Morehead State; Justin Stommes, Eastern Kentucky; Danero Thomas, Murray State.

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