<strong>LOGAN—</strong>The men’s and women’s preseason basketball polls were announced Wednesday morning for the Western Athletic Conference, and Utah State fared well as both Aggie teams received high praise from the coaches and media.
Coming off somewhat of a down year, the men’s basketball team was tabbed first overall by the media as Utah State received 15 first place votes compared to eight for second place New Mexico State. The Aggie duo switched spots in the coaches poll, as they each received five first place votes but NMSU edged USU 77-76 in total points to grab the top spot.
As usual though, USU head coach Stew Morrill doesn’t put much stock in preseason polls.
“It’s early. We’re only 12 practices in and as always, the preseason picks are a surprise. We finished fourth last year and scrambled around to do that, yet we’re picked fairly high in the preseason polls,” Morrill said. “It reflects on what’s been done in the past and what our potential is. We have a lot of new players and a few returnees and we’re just trying to mesh it all together. It’s far from being meshed just yet, so we’ll see how it goes as we get through this preseason and get towards conference.”
USU also grabbed plenty of individual awards as redshirt junior <a href=”http://www.utahstateaggies.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/medlin_preston00.html” target=”_blank”>Preston Medlin</a> was named the preseason WAC player of the year by both the coaches and the media. Unlike the media, the coaches also vote on an All-WAC second team, and forward Kyisean Reed was named to that. The media do vote on a newcomer of the year, and that was another Aggie, and big man Jarred Shaw was named the preseason newcomer of the year after transferring from Oklahoma State and spending a year in USU’s program last season.
“He had a sophomore year that surprised lots of people. We certainly knew he was a good player, but he probably surprised us even a little bit with the quality of year he had,” Morrill said. “As far as Player of the Year goes, what I’ll tell Preston – and I’ve told a number of preseason Players of the Year before – is it all really depends on our team’s success. The actual Player of the Year at the end of the year is usually from the team that wins the conference.”
Not to be outdone, the USU women – coming off their best season ever – were tabbed by both the coaches and the media as the preseason No. 1 team in the conference. The Aggies received seven of the 10 first place votes and 78 total points to edge out Louisiana Tech.
In the media poll, the USU women received nine of the 18 first place votes and 165 total points to again edge out the Lady Techsters. Also, just like the Aggie men, the USU women swept the preseason player of the year honors, as senior <a href=”http://www.utahstateaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/christensen_devyn00.html” target=”_blank”>Devyn Christensen</a> was picked as the POY by both the coaches and the media.
“Probably my biggest shock of the pre-season is seeing that we’re voted No. 1 by the media and the coaches,” said new USU women’s head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. “There’s a lot of respect that this program has in the conference, so I’m just happy to inherit it.”
As a sophomore, Medlin led Utah State in scoring as he averaged 17 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Medlin also went 43 percent from beyond the arc as he connected on 95 3-pointers on the season.
Christensen was once again a big part of USU’s success as she tied for the team lead with 15.1 points per game, connected on 38 percent of her 3-point attempts and made 64 treys on the year.
The USU men hit the court for the first time this Friday, Oct. 26, when they host Grand Canyon in the first of two exhibition games. The Aggie women begin their season on Friday, Nov. 2, when they host New Mexico Highlands in the first of their two exhibition games.
<a href=”http://www.wacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=45988&SPID=4126&ATCLID=205718542&DB_OEM_ID=10100″ target=”_blank”>Coaches Poll</a>
<a href=”http://www.wacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=45988&SPID=4126&ATCLID=205718781&DB_OEM_ID=10100″ target=”_blank”>Media Poll</a>
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<a href=”http://www.wacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=45988&SPID=4126&ATCLID=205718422&DB_OEM_ID=10100″ target=”_blank”>Media Poll </a>