Fort Wayne Tabbed as #SummitMBB Preseason Favorite

Photo by Inertia Sports
Photo by Inertia Sports

ELMHURST, Ill. – Fort Wayne is the preseason favorite to win the 2014-15 Summit League Men's Basketball Championship according to the annual preseason poll of league coaches, SIDs and media. The Mastodons, which received a league-high 13-of-30 first-place votes, edged out Denver by a mere 13 points in the poll.

IPFW, The Summit League Tournament runner-up a year ago, is led by first-year coach Jon Coffman, who returns three of five starters and nine of 14 letterwinners from a squad that produced a 25-11 record last season.

Runner-up pick Denver, which received 12 first-place votes, is led by Preseason Player of the Year Brett Olson. Olson, the lone returning first team all-league selection from 2013-14, averaged 14.5 points and 3.5 assists last season. His league-leading 90.2 free throw percentage ranked seventh nationally.

Following Fort Wayne and Denver in the preseason poll is Oral Roberts, which returns to The Summit League for the first time since 2011-12. The Golden Eagles are the league's active leader in both regular season (six) and tournament (three) titles.

South Dakota State, which received a first-place vote, finished fourth and was followed by defending champion North Dakota State, which had four first-place votes. Omaha, Western Illinois, South Dakota and IUPUI rounded out the poll.

Fort Wayne, Oral Roberts and North Dakota State featured a pair of preseason all-league selections with each team having both a first and second teamer. In total, six different schools were represented on the six-man first team. Joining Olson on the first unit is NDSU's Lawrence Alexander (11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Western Illinois' Garret Covington (14.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg), last season's Summit League Newcomer of the Year, ORU's Obi Emegano (19.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), IPFW's Steve Forbes (12.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and SDSU's Cody Larson (13.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

Second-team selections included five players from five different schools: ORU's Korey Billbury (15.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg), South Dakota's Brandon Bos (11.9 ppg, 86.3 FT%), NDSU's Kory Brown (7.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Omaha's CJ Carter (13.5 ppg, 3.4 apg) and IPFW's Mo Evans (9.6 ppg, 45.1 3FG%), the 2013-14 Summit League Sixth man of the Year.

College basketball's "best kept secret", The Summit League is tied for the nation's best RPI gain (+8) over the past five seasons and recorded its third consecutive top 20 RPI finish a year ago. The league achieved an all-time best finish (No. 14) in the USA Today Sagarin Ratings and had a record three teams advance in the postseason in 2013-14.

The Summit League "kicks off" its season with its annual Media Day on Oct. 15. Regular season play commences Nov. 14 while the league's 16-game, double round-robin league schedule starts Jan. 2. The 2015 Summit League Men's Basketball Championship will be held March 7-10, at the brand new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., following six record-breaking years at the Sioux Falls Arena.

 

SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL

2014-15 PRESEASON POLL

Place

Team

Points (1st)

1.

Fort Wayne

450 (13)

2.

Denver

437 (12)

3.

Oral Roberts

400

4.

South Dakota State

345 (1)

5.

North Dakota State

313 (4)

6.

Omaha

245

7.

Western Illinois

151

8.

South Dakota

148

9.

IUPUI

75

 

Preseason Player of the Year: Brett Olson, Denver

 

First Team

Name

School

Pos.

Year

Lawrence Alexander

North Dakota State

G

Sr.

Garret Covington

Western Illinois

G

So.

Obi Emegano

Oral Roberts

G

Jr.

Steve Forbes

Fort Wayne

F

Sr.

Cody Larson

South Dakota State

F

Sr.

Brett Olson

Denver

G

Sr.

 

Second Team

Name

School

Pos.

Year

Korey Billbury

Oral Roberts

G

Jr.

Brandon Bos

South Dakota

G

Sr.

Kory Brown

North Dakota State

G

Jr.

CJ Carter

Omaha

G

Sr.

Mo Evans

Fort Wayne

G

So.

ABOUT SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League features men's basketball teams from nine member institutions: Denver, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois. Over the past five seasons (2010-14), The Summit League is tied for the nation's highest RPI gain (+8) during that span. In 2013-14, The Summit League had three teams advance in national postseason tournaments, highlighted by an NCAA Tournament Round of 64 victory, recorded its third consecutive top-20 RPI finish, achieved an all-time high USA Today Sagarin rating, and saw a record 10 former players on NBA and D-League rosters. The Summit League Basketball Championships, called "March's Best-Kept Secret" by USA Today and among the most attended tournaments in the nation, move into the brand-new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 7-10, 2015.  For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org, follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops, download The Summit League's Front Row app and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.

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