Mountain West Conference Announces 2010-11 Preseason Men's Basketball Selections
Oct. 12, 2010
DENVER, Colo. -
The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-Conference team today at the league's media day being held at The Mtn.-MountainWest Sports Network studios in Denver, Colo.
Conference media selected defending MWC Tournament champion San Diego State as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference men's basketball regular-season title in 2010-11. The Aztecs captured 21 of 30 first-place votes and 261 points for the top spot in the poll. BYU collected five first-place votes and 220 points to finish second, followed closely by New Mexico, who garnered three first-place votes and 214 points for third place. UNLV claimed the remaining first-place vote and 203 points to land in fourth. Colorado State received 132 points to finish fifth, followed by Utah (105 points) in sixth, TCU (92 points) in seventh, Wyoming (88 points) in eighth and Air Force (35 points) in ninth to round out the poll.
San Diego State returns all five starters among nine letterwinners from a 2009-10 team that compiled a 25-9 overall record and tied for third in MWC regular-season play (11-5). The Aztecs captured their third MWC Tournament crown and received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking the program's fifth consecutive postseason appearance.
BYU (30-6) turned in a second-place effort (13-3) in regular-season Conference action a year ago. The Cougars made their fourth straight postseason appearance, receiving an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and advancing to the second round. BYU returns three starters and 10 letterwinners from a squad that posted a program-record 30 wins and closed out the 2009-10 season ranked 17th and 22nd in the final Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls, respectively.
New Mexico (30-5) brings back three starters and six letterwinners after capturing its second-straight Mountain West regular-season crown with a 14-2 mark against league opponents in 2009-10. The Lobos competed in the postseason for the third straight year, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection. New Mexico, who also finished the season with a program-record 30 wins, was ranked No. 8 and No. 16 in the final AP and Coaches' polls, respectively.
Following its runner-up finish in the MWC Tournament, UNLV made its fourth straight postseason appearance with an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The Runnin' Rebels return all five starters among 11 letterwinners from a team that tied for third place (11-5) in Mountain West play and closed out the 2009-10 season with a 25-9 record overall.
Four seniors and one sophomore representing four institutions were chosen for the 2010-11 preseason all-MWC team. BYU's Jimmer Fredette received Preseason MWC Player of the Year honors, while New Mexico's Drew Gordon garnered Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades and BYU's Kyle Collinsworth collected Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.
The Mountain West will begin its 12th season of basketball competition on Friday, November 12.
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM BIOS
Preseason Player of the Year
Dairese Gary (6-1, 205, Sr., G, New Mexico) - Earned first-team all-Conference and MWC all-defensive team kudos in 2009-10. Three-year starter at the point who returns as the Lobos' lone senior and leading scorer in 2010-11. Last season, ranked among league leaders in scoring (6th/13.1 ppg) and assists (6th (3.91 apg). Has played in 102 games for the Lobos, making 97 consecutive starts.
Kawhi Leonard (6-7, 225, So., F, San Diego State) - Named to 2010-11 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. Selected as the 2009-10 MWC Freshman of the Year. One of four Division I freshmen to lead his team in both scoring and rebounding last season, averaging 12.7 points and a league-high 9.9 rebounds per game. Was the first freshman in Mountain West history to earn first-team all-Conference accolades. Also received NABC all-District recognition and was selected to the Sporting News All-Freshman Second Team.
Malcolm Thomas (6-9, 215, Sr., F, San Diego State) - Earned second-team all-MWC and NABC all-District honors in 209-10. Played in 34 games for the Aztecs last season. Ranked among Conference leaders in scoring (17th/10.9 ppg), rebounding (4th/7.6 rpg), field goal percentage (3rd/.543) and blocked shots (1.53 bpg). Enters 2010-11 season as the MWC's second-leading returner in rebounds and blocked shots.
Tre'Von Willis (6-4, 195, Sr., G, UNLV) - Received first-team all-Conference and MWC all-defensive team honors in 2009-10. Also captured USBWA all-District honors. Led UNLV and was second in league in scoring (17.2 ppg) last season. Also ranked among MWC leaders in free throw percentage (3rd/.858), field goal percentage (6th/.478), assists (7th/3.45 apg) and assists/turnover ratio (9th/1.43).
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Preseason Freshman of the Year