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Murphy Preseason OVC Player of the Year; Golden Eagles picked second

Murhpy and Swansey among 11 returnees on Steve Payne's first squad

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy has risen to the top. The Golden Eagles hope to soar just as high.

Murphy, a senior from Fairburn, Ga., has been picked as the Preseason Player of the Year by voters in the Ohio Valley Conference's annual poll of coaches and sports information directors.  The Golden Eagles, under first-year head coach Steve Payne, are picked second in the league standings just a few points behind favorite Austin Peay.

The Governors received 10 first-place votes and 185 points to earn the nod for the top spot in the poll. The Golden Eagles claimed eight first-place ballots and 181 total points. Defending champion Murray State was third with three first-place votes and 169 points, followed by Tennessee State (145) and defending tourney champion Morehead State (128). MSU received the remaining first-place votes. The balance of the poll listed Southeast Missouri (106), Eastern Kentucky (90), UT Martin (73), Eastern Illinois (67), Jacksonville State (40) and league newcomer SIU Edwardsville (27).

Murphy headlines the preseason all-OVC team with his Player of the Year selection. He averaged 17.0 points/game last season to rank third in the league and helped the high-powered Golden Eagle offense lead the OVC in scoring (74.6 points/game). His play helped the Golden Eagles to 20 victories for the first time since 2002-03 and a berth in the OVC Tournament Championship game. Although TTU came up short in that game, they were invited to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, marking the first postseason play for the program since 2001-02. Murphy also averaged 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals/game while hitting 47.8 percent from the field in 33 total contests.

Payne, who served as an assistant coach under Mike Sutton for the past nine years, takes over the reins of the program. Last year the Golden Eagles were picked sixth in the preseason but finished fourth overall (jusr two games out of first place) and advanced to the OVC Tournament title game.

In addition to Murphy, senior guard Zac Swansey also received recognition with a spot on the preseason all-OVC team. In his first year after transferring from the University of Georgia, Swansey led the OVC and ranked seventh nationally in assists (6.4/game) while hitting big shot after big shot. Four times during the year Swansey hit a shot on TTU’s final possession to give his team a victory.

Overall six different schools were represented on the preseason all-OVC team with Austin Peay, Murray State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech having two selections apiece. Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri each had one selection to round out the team.  In addition to Murphy and Swansey, the league coaches and SIDs selected Austin Peay’s TyShwan Edmondson and Anthony Campbell, Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan and Ivan Aska, Tennessee State’s Robert Covington and Kenny Moore, , Southeast Missouri’s Leon Powell and Eastern Illinois’ Jeremy Granger.

The Golden Eagles will open the 2011-12 season with a road trip to the University of Miami on Friday, Nov. 11. Tech's first home game is Tuesday, Nov. 15, againt Reinhardt College.

Season tickets for the 2011-12 Golden Eagle home schedule are currently on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center, or by calling (931) 372-3940.

Order of Finish Points
1. Austin Peay (10) 185
2. Tennessee Tech (8) 181
3. Murray State (3) 169
4. Tennessee State 145
5. Morehead State (1) 128
6. Southeast Missouri 106
7. Eastern Kentucky 90
8. UT Martin 73
9. Eastern Illinois 67
10. Jacksonville State 40
11. SIUE 27

10 points awarded for a first-place vote, 9 for second, etc. - Coaches and SID’s could not vote for their own teams
Note: SIUE is eligible for the OVC regular season title, but not the OVC or NCAA Tournaments

2011-12 Preseason All-OVC Team

NAME, SCHOOL POS. HT. WT. CL. HOMETOWN KEY STATS FROM 2010-11
Ivan Aska, Murray State F 6-7 230 Sr. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 7.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 45.8 FG%
Anthony Campbell, Austin Peay & F/G 6-7 215 R-Jr. Edwardsville, Ill. 15.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 57 3’s ***
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State * G 6-0 193 Jr. Biloxi, Miss. 11.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 58 3’s
Robert Covington, Tennessee State # F 6-9 207 Jr. Bellwood, Ill. 13.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 46.0 3FG%
TyShwan Edmondson, Austin Peay *% G 6-3 175 Sr. Hopkinsville, Ky. 17.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.8 spg, 72 3’s
Jeremy Granger, Eastern Illinois G 6-1 170 Sr. Elgin, Ill. 14.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 90.4 FT%
Kenny Moore, Tennessee State #% F 6-5 220 Sr. Philadelphia, Pa. 14.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 46.0 FG%
Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech * G/F 6-7 185 Sr. Fairburn, Ga. 17.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 47.8 FG%
Leon Powell, Southeast Missouri #% F 6-7 225 Sr. St. Louis, Mo. 14.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 63.0 FG%
Zac Swansey, Tennessee Tech % G 6-1 180 Sr. Dunwoody, Ga. 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.4 apg, 2.0 spg

* - 1st team All-OVC team in 2010-11 # - 2nd team All-OVC team in 2010-11 % - OVC All-Newcomer team in 2010-11
& - 1st team All-OVC in 2009-10
*** - Campbell’s stats are from 2009-10; he missed most of last season due to injury and received a medical redshirt