Media Pick Long Beach State To Repeat As Men's Basketball Champion
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12-13 Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll
Long Beach State earned 13 first-place votes and 194 points to emerge the favorite for the 2012-13 Big West men's basketball title, according to the annual preseason media poll released today.
The 49ers outdistanced Cal State Fullerton, which accumulated 164 points with six first-place votes, and third place UC Irvine's 153 points and one first-place vote. The 21-member media panel tabbed new Big West member Hawai'i for fourth place with 132 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara in fifth (129). Picking up the lone remaining first-place nod was Pacific, which tallied 113 points for sixth place in the poll.
LBSU brings back one starter from the 2011-12 club that finished 25-9 overall, won the Big West regular season championship with a 15-1 record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Senior James Ennis earned All-Big West Honorable Mention recognition last season after averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-7 guard/forward also ranked No. 2 in the conference in steals (1.6 spg).
The 49ers also welcome back sophomore Mike Caffey, who played significant minutes off the bench on last year's senior-laden roster and is expected to assume the starting point guard reins. A host of Division I transfers are also being counted on to provide key production, including 6-9 forward Dan Jennings (West Virginia), 6-5 guard Keala King (Arizona State), 6-7 forward Tony Freeland (DePaul) and 6-10 forward Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount).
Cal State Fullerton is the only Big West school to return two all-conference performers. The Titans are led by senior D. J. Seeley, an All-Big West First Team selection. Seeley lit up the stat sheet in 2011-12 to the tune of 17.3 points and ranked eighth in the league with 66 three-pointers. He was the conference's No. 4 scorer and ranked 14th in rebounding (5.5 rpg). Senior Kwame Vaughn was a second team all-conference choice, earning the accolades on the basis of 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Among the Big West leaders, Vaughn ranked sixth in scoring, fifth in field goal percentage (.458) and 10th in three-point field goals made (1.9 pg). He also topped the league circuit in assists.
UC Irvine returns all five starters from its 2011-11 team that went 12-20 overall and reached the semifinals of the Big West Tournament. The Anteaters are at the top of the Big West active career leader list in points, rebounds, assists and minutes played among key categories. Senior Michael Wilder garnered All-Big West Second Team acclaim after averaging a team-best 11.5 points as well as 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He also drained 78 three-pointers for the fourth-highest total in the conference. Daman Starring, a 6-3 senior guard, was an all-conference honorable mention selection. He posted averages of 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Sophomore Will Davis II, a 6-8 forward/center, set a UCI single-season record with 55 blocked shots.
Rounding out the poll was Cal Poly in seventh place with 100 points, Cal State Northridge in eighth (83), UC Davis (44) and UC Riverside (43).
The media panel also selected a six-player preseason all-conference team comprised of five seniors and one sophomore. D. J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn gave Cal State Fullerton two representatives. Long Beach State's James Ennis, UC Irvine's Mike Wilder, Hawaii's Vander Joaquim and Cal State Northridge's Stephan Hicks filled out the preseason list.
Media Poll Results
1. Long Beach State (13) 194
2. Cal State Fullerton (6) 164
3. UC Irvine (1) 153
4. Hawai’i 132
5. UC Santa Barbara 129
6. Pacific (1) 113
7. Cal Poly 100
8. Cal State Northridge 83
9. UC Davis 44
10. UC Riverside 43
( ) First-place votes
Preseason Media All-Conference Team
Name School Position Year Hometown
James Ennis Long Beach State Guard/Forward Senior Ventura, Calif.
Stephan Hicks Cal State Northridge Guard/Forward Sophomore Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Vander Joaquim Hawai’i Center Senior Luanda, Angola
D. J. Seeley Cal State Fullerton Guard Senior Stockton, Calif.
Kwame Vaughn Cal State Fullerton Guard Senior Oakland, Calif.
Michael Wilder UC Irvine Forward/Guard Senior Long Beach, Calif.