ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) released its preseason coaches and media polls and teams on Wednesday morning UTSA has been picked to finish seventh in its first and only season in the league, while junior forward Jeromie Hill was named to the second team.
New Mexico State was the coaches’ pick to win the conference crown, while Utah State was the media’s selection.
Utah State junior guard Preston Medlin was the unanimous choice as Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 17 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as a first-team pick last year.
In the coaches poll, New Mexico State received five first-place votes and 77 points followed by Utah State (76), Denver (65), Louisiana Tech (54), UT Arlington (48) and Idaho (45). UTSA was picked seventh with 31 points ahead of Seattle (22), San Jose State (18) and Texas State (14).
The coaches also voted on preseason first and second teams.
Medlin was joined on the first team by Denver forward Chris Udofia, Idaho center Kyle Barone, Louisiana Tech guard Raheem Appleby and New Mexico State guard Daniel Mullings.
Hill was accompanied on the second squad by UT Arlington forward Kevin Butler, San Jose State guard James Kinney, Utah State forward Kyisean Reed and New Mexico State forward Tyrone Watson.
Last season, Hill collected second-team NABC All-District 23 and All-Southland Conference accolades in addition to being chosen as Southland Student-Athlete of the Year. The Cairns, Australia, native recorded 12.5 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game and shot 48.6 percent from the floor, including 40.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.
In the media poll, Utah State received 232 points and 15 first-place votes as the top pick ahead of New Mexico State, which garnered 223 and eight, respectively. Denver was third (181), followed by Louisiana Tech (162), Idaho (144) and UT Arlington (137). The Roadrunners were seventh with 104 points, followed by Seattle (77), San Jose State (61) and Texas State (54).
In addition to voting Medlin as the Preseason WAC Player of the Year, the media selected Utah State junior forward/center Jarred Shaw, a transfer from Oklahoma State, as the league’s Newcomer of the Year.
The media voted for five Preseason All-WAC selections and those included Appleby, Barone, Mullings and Udofia. as well as Medlin.
UTSA seventh-year head coach Brooks Thompson welcomes back six letterwinners, including two starters, from last year’s squad that won 18 games and finished third in the Southland's West Division with a 10-6 mark.
The Birds will host Southeastern Oklahoma State in an exhibition contest at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Convocation Center before officially tipping off the 2012-13 campaign against Morgan State on Nov. 9 at the Liberty Tax Classic in Norfolk, Va.