October 25, 2010

Murphy preseason all-OVC pick, Golden Eagles tabbed sixth

Coach Mike Sutton comments at Media Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Junior Kevin Murphy was voted to the preseason all-OVC team and Tennessee Tech was picked for a sixth place showing this season according to the annual poll of Ohio Valley Conference coaches and sports information directors, announced Monday at the OVC Media Day at Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

Murray State received 18 first-place votes and was picked as the favorite for the 2010-11 season. Last season Murray State won an OVC-record 31 games on its way to the OVC regular season and tournament championship as well as a NCAA Tournament first round victory over No. 4 seed Vanderbilt.

Murray State received 162 total points and was followed next by Morehead State (2 first-place votes, 146 points), who was a consensus No. 2 pick. Eastern Illinois was picked third (123 points) and was followed by Austin Peay (107), Eastern Kentucky (92), Tennessee Tech (85), Tennessee State (81), Jacksonville State (51), Southeast Missouri (41) and UT Martin (20).

Tennessee Tech head coach Mike Sutton returns for his ninth season on the Golden Eagle sidelines, making him the second-longest active tenured coach in the league. After finishing sixth a season ago, Tech was tabbed the same in this year's preseason poll. Sutton has a group of nine players back from last year's team including junior Kevin Murphy who led the team in scoring (15.3 points/game), a mark that was fifth amongst all OVC players. Also back is senior big man Alfred Jones, who led the OVC in field goal percentage last season (120-of-180, 66.7%), while also averaging 9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds/game. Tech will also debut University of Georgia transfer Zac Swansey who sat out last season under NCAA transfer guidelines. Another newcomer is 7'0 center Liam McMorrow who transferred to TTU from Marquette and who is also eligible to play this season.

The 2010-11 season kicks off for the Golden Eagles with an exhibition contest against Carson-Newman, Thursday, Nov. 4, in Eblen Center. The first Conference game will take place on Friday, Dec. 3, at Jacksonville State.

The 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will be held March 2-5. This year every rounds will be held at the same venue, Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Previously the first round had been played on campus sites. The tournament has also switched to a merit-based format where the No. 1 and 2 seeds will receive a double bye to the semifinals while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will receive a single bye to the quarterfinals. The semifinals will be carried live on ESPNU with the championship game being broadcast to a national audience on ESPN2.

2010-11 Preseason Predicted Order of Finish
1. Murray State (18 first-place votes) - 162
2. Morehead State (2) - 146
3. Eastern Illinois - 123
4. Austin Peay - 107
5. Eastern Kentucky - 92
6. Tennessee Tech - 85
7. Tennessee State - 81
8. Jacksonville State - 51
9. Southeast Missouri - 41
10. UT Martin - 20

2010-11 All-OVC Preseason Men's Basketball Team

The 2010-11 All-OVC Preseason Men's Basketball team is headlined by Morehead State senior center Kenneth Faried, marking the second year in a row he has been bestowed that honor. Faried was named both the OVC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2009-10.

Overall seven different schools were represented on the team with Murray State's four selections leading the way. Morehead State had two selections while Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech had one player each on the squad. The team features four players who were All-OVC first-team selections last season. The team also has one player who was a second-team selection and two players who were on the All-Newcomer squad.

Faried earned his second-straight OVC Defensive Player of the Year award last season while also picking up OVC Player of the Year honors for the first time a season ago. Faried was second nationally in rebounding (13.0/game) and double-doubles (25) and 17th nationally in field goal percentage (56.4%) as he earned honorable mention All-American honors. Faried also poured in a career-best 16.9 points per game in helping the Eagles to its second-highest win total in school history (24) and a berth in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

In addition to Faried, Murray State's B.J. Jenkins (10.6 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg) and Isacc Miles (9.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Eastern Illinois' Tyler Laser (13.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 65 3-pointers) were each second-team All-OVC picks last season and are each on the preseason team this year.

Austin Peay's Anthony Campbell (15.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 57 3-pointers) was the lone second-team selection from last season who returned to the OVC this year, while Murray State's Isaiah Canaan (10.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 48.2 3FG%), along with Jenkins, were the All-Newcomer selections from last year who were on this year's preseason team.

The Preseason All-OVC team is rounded out by Murray State's Ivan Aska (10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 58.8 FG%), Morehead State's Demonte Harper (11.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.2 apg), Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy (15.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.1 apg), Jacksonville State's Nick Murphy (14.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 54.5 FG%) and Eastern Kentucky's Justin Stommes (14.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg).

2010-11 Preseason All-OVC Team
Ivan Aska, Murray State                                     
Anthony Campbell, Austin Peay #                
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State *               
Demonte Harper, Morehead State                  
B.J. Jenkins, Murray State *%                           
Tyler Laser, Eastern Illinois *                            
Isacc Miles, Murray State *                                
Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech                       
Nick Murphy, Jacksonville State                     
Justin Stommes, Eastern Kentucky

Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

* - 1st team All-OVC team in 2009-10                         
# - 2nd team All-OVC team in 2009-10                          
% - OVC All-Newcomer team in 2009-10