Golden Eagles picked sixth in OVC men's basketball race
Daniel Northern named to preseason all-OVC team
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a vote of Ohio Valley Conference head men's basketball coaches and sports information directors, Tennessee Tech has been picked for a sixth place finish while Murray State was picked as the 2008-09 preseason favorite in the 10-team league.
The Racers, who received 11 of 20 first-place votes, finished second in the OVC last season (13-7) and return nine players and four starters from the team. It marks the 12th time in the last 20 years that Murray State has been picked the preseason favorite and the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Murray State totaled 149 points and was closely followed by UT Martin who received six first-place votes (142 points). It marks the highest preseason ranking the Skyhawks have received since joining the OVC in 1992. The Skyhawks return senior guard Lester Hudson, the Preseason Player of the Year, after an All-American season in which he finished fifth nationally in scoring (25.7 points/game).
Defending champion Austin Peay received two first-place votes and was tabbed third (129 points) while Morehead State received one first-place vote and was picked fourth (118), its highest preseason selection since 2003-04. Tennessee State was picked fifth (108), followed by Tech (77), Eastern Kentucky (59), Southeast Missouri (57), Eastern Illinois (35) and Jacksonville State.
Tennessee Tech was tabbed sixth this preseason after finishing in a tie for fifth (10-10) a season ago. The Golden Eagles return two starters and five letterwinners from last year's team. The focal point of Coach Mike Sutton's team is senior center Daniel Northern, who led the OVC in both rebounding (9.3/game) and blocked shots (2.81/game) and ranked 15th (12.8 points/game) in scoring. Also back is junior guard Frank Davis who averaged 9.0 points a contest and hit a team-best 67 trifectas last season.
2008-09 Preseason Predicted Order of Finish
1. Murray State (11) 149
2. UT Martin (6) 142
3. Austin Peay (2) 129
4. Morehead State 118
5. Tennessee State 108
6. Tennessee Tech 77
7. Eastern Kentucky 59
8. Southeast Missouri 57
9. Eastern Illinois 35
10. Jacksonville State 26
The 2008-09 All-OVC Preseason Men's Basketball team is headlined by UT Martin senior guard Lester Hudson, the 2007-08 OVC Player of the Year. Hudson was tabbed a nearly unanimous Preseason Player of the Year after earning the award at the end of last season. Overall seven different schools were represented on the team with Morehead State, Tennessee State and UT Martin each placing two individuals on the team. The team included six seniors, a junior and three sophomores while featuring three repeat selections from last year's All-OVC squads.
Hudson finished last year ranked in the Top 10 nationally in each points per game (25.7 - 4th), steals (2.8 - 4th) and 3-pointers made per game (3.8 - 10th). He also became the first Division I men's basketball player to record a quadruple-double in a game. Hudson was joined by two other players who were selections on the 2007-08 All-OVC team - Austin Peay forward Drake Reed (the 2006-07 OVC Player of the Year and last year's preseason Player of the Year) and Eastern Kentucky guard Mike Rose. Reed averaged 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season while leading APSU to the OVC regular season and tournament championships. Rose led EKU with 15.3 points per game while also adding 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
All five individuals who were named to the OVC All-Newcomer Team last season made this year's preseason team. That includes Hudson, his UT Martin teammate Marquis Weddle (17.1 ppg, 99 made 3-pointers), Morehead State's Leon Buchanan (13.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 53.5 FG%) and Kenneth Faried (10.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 51.6 FG%) and Tennessee State's Gerald Robinson (15.2 ppg, 60 made 3-pointers).
Rounding out the Preseason All-OVC team was Tennessee State's Jerrell Houston (11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Tennessee Tech's Daniel Northern (12.8 ppg, OVC-best 9.3 rebounds per game and OVC-best 2.8 blocks per game) and Murray State's Danero Thomas (12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg).
2008-09 Preseason All-OVC Team
F - Leon Buchanan, Morehead State
C - Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
F - Jerrell Houston, Tennessee State
G - Lester Hudson, UT Martin
C - Daniel Northern, Tennessee Tech
G - Gerald Robinson, Jr., Tennessee State
G - Mike Rose, Eastern Kentucky
F - Drake Reed, Austin Peay
F - Danero Thomas, Murray State
G - Marquis Weddle, UT Martin