Oct. 22, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-Conference team today, as selected by a voting panel comprised of Conference media.
Defending Mountain West co-regular-season champion San Diego State edged UNLV as the preseason favorite to win the MW men's basketball regular-season title in 2012-13. The Aztecs received 10 of 18 first-place votes and 153 points to garner the top spot in the poll. The Runnin' Rebels claimed the remaining eight first-place votes and 151 points for second place. New Mexico garnered 122 points to finish third, followed by Colorado State, who collected 106 points for fourth place. Mountain West newcomer Nevada earned 89 points to finish fifth, followed by Wyoming (70 points) in sixth, MW newcomer Fresno State (49 points) in seventh, Boise State (43 points) in eighth and Air Force (27 points) in ninth to round out the poll.
San Diego State amassed a 26-8 overall record in 2011-12 en route to capturing a share of the MW regular-season crown with a 10-4 mark. The Aztecs made their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance last year, receiving an at-large bid, and enter the 2012-13 campaign ranked No. 20 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches' top 25 poll. Four of five starters return among seven letterwinners for 14th-year head coach Steve Fisher, led by the 2011-12 MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin (Jr., G) and fellow all-MW performers Chase Tapley (Sr., G) and Xavier Thames (Jr., G).
UNLV turned in a third-place effort (9-5) in regular-season Conference action a year ago and closed out the 2011-12 campaign with a 26-9 overall mark. The Runnin' Rebels made their sixth straight postseason appearance, receiving an at-large berth to the 2012 NCAA tournament. Six letterwinners, including two starters, return under the direction of second-year head coach Dave Rice. The Rebels, who enter the 2012-13 campaign ranked No. 19 in the preseason Coaches' poll, are led by 2011-12 MW Newcomer of the Year Mike Moser (Jr., F) and all-MW senior guard Anthony Marshall.
Defending Mountain West tournament champion New Mexico returns three of five starters among eight letterwinners from a 2011-12 squad that compiled a 28-7 overall record and earned a share of the MW regular-season crown (10-4). The Lobos ended the season ranked No. 21 and 23 in the final AP and Coaches' polls, respectively, and made their sixth straight trip to the postseason, advancing to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Headlining UNM's cast of returnees for sixth-year head coach Steve Alford are all-MW junior guards Kendall Williams and Tony Snell.
One senior and four juniors representing four institutions were chosen for the 2012-13 preseason all-MW team. San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin received Preseason MW Player of the Year honors, while San Diego State's Dwayne Polee II and UNLV's Bryce DeJean-Jones shared Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades. UNLV's Anthony Bennett earned Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.
The Mountain West will begin its 14th season of basketball competition on Friday, November 9.
PRESEASON ALL-MW TEAM PLAYER PROFILES
Preseason Player of the Year: Jamaal Franklin (6-5, 195, Jr., G, San Diego State)
Named a 2012-13 preseason third-team All-American by Sporting News. Selected the 2011-12 Mountain West Player of the Year. Also received first-team all-MW honors and Associated Press All-American honorable mention last season. Led the MW with 17.4 points per game while also ranking among league leaders with a team-best 7.9 rebounding average a year ago.
Deonte Burton (6-3, 190, Jr., G, Nevada)
Named the 2011-12 WAC Player of the Year. Also received first-team all-conference and Associated Press All-American honorable mention accolades last season. Led the Wolf Pack with a 14.8 scoring average in 2011-12. Has started all 67 games at Nevada, collecting 261 assists and 79 steals for his career.
Kendall Williams (6-4, 185, Jr., G, New Mexico)
Named second-team all-Mountain West in 2011-12 after earning MW Freshman of the Year and all-MW honorable mention accolades the previous season. Led the Lobos in assists (142) and steals (46) a year ago. Ranked second on the squad in scoring (12.1 ppg) in 2011-12. Converted 39 3-pointers last season.
Chase Tapley (6-3, 185, Sr., G, San Diego State)
Three-year starter who enters 2012-13 season having started 43 consecutive games. Was a 2011-12 all-Mountain West second-team selection. Second-leading returning scorer (15.8 ppg) in the Mountain West in 2012-13. Shot 45.5 percent (200-of-440) from the field a year ago.
Mike Moser (6-8, 210, Jr., F, UNLV)
Earned Associated Press All-America honorable mention last season. Named the 2011-12 MW Newcomer of the Year and was a first-team all-MW selection. Also was named to the MW all-defensive team. Led the Runnin' Rebels in both scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg) last season. Top returning rebounder in the MW in 2012-13. Shot 45 percent from the floor and led the league with 68 steals last season.
Preseason Co-Newcomer of the Year: Dwayne Polee II (6-7, 195, So., F, San Diego State)
Sat out the 2011-12 season after transferring to San Diego State from St. John's. Played in all 33 of the Red Storm's contests as a freshman in 2010-11, making 27 starts. Averaged nearly 15 minutes of action while contributing 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Shot 45.6 percent from the floor. Nearly a third of his rebounds (26-of-81) were on the offensive end.
Preseason Co-Newcomer of the Year: Bryce Dejean-Jones (6-5, 200, So., G, UNLV)
Sat out the 2011-12 season after transferring to UNLV from USC. Played in 18 games as a freshman in 2010-11 for the Trojans, starting the first 10. Averaged nearly 21 minutes of action while contributing 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Also recorded 28 assists and 20 steals.
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Anthony Bennett (6-8, 240, G, UNLV)
Named a McDonald's High School All-American his senior year at Findlay College Prep. Averaged 16.3 points and a school-record 10.1 rebounds last season while helping Findlay Prep to a 32-1 record and the championship of the National High School Invitational, earning Tournament MVP honors. Shot 62.6 percent from the field during his two seasons at Findlay Prep, including 40 percent from 3-point range.