The Citadel Picked Last In SoCon By Coaches, Media
SPARTANBURG, SC -
The Elon Phoenix has been tabbed the preseason favorite to win the Southern Conference men's basketball title in 2013-14, according to a vote by the league's head coaches, while Davidson senior forward De'Mon Brooks was named the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams or student-athletes as part of the balloting.
Head coach Matt Matheny enters his fifth season with the Phoenix and returns 12 lettermen and five starters from a squad that went 21-12 last season, won the league's North Division, and earned a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Elon earned seven first-place votes and finished the balloting with 96 points.
Davidson was chosen second (90) and earned three first-place votes. Head coach Bob McKillop enters his 25th season on the bench with the Wildcats. Western Carolina earned the final first-place vote and came in third with 82 points. Head coach Larry Hunter returns all five starters from a season ago.
Appalachian State and Samford tied for fourth place with 67 points apiece. Wofford (57) was selected sixth, followed by Chattanooga (50) and UNCG (32). Georgia Southern, under the direction of first-year head coach Mark Byington, was tabbed ninth (30), while Furman followed in 10th place (20). The Paladins now are under the direction of Niko Medved, who previously served as an assistant coach at Furman from 2000-06. The Citadel (14) rounded out the poll.
The coaches also selected a 10-member preseason all-conference team. Brooks, who was named the Southern Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player last season, averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a junior and shot 50 percent from the field.
He was joined on the preseason all-conference team by Appalachian State's Jay Canty as well as a trio from Elon. Ryley Beaumont, Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman were all tabbed preseason honorees. Both Isenbarger and Troutman were named all-conference at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
Samford placed a pair of Bulldogs on the preseason all-conference team. Raijon Kelly earned all-league honors a season ago, while teammate Tim Williams was named the league's Freshman of the Year.
Chattanooga's Z. Mason, Western Carolina's Trey Sumler and Wofford's Karl Cochran were named to the preseason team. Mason and Cochran were tabbed all-conference honorees by the league's media last season, while Sumler earned the nod from both the coaches and media last winter. A senior, Sumler is the league's leading returning scorer after averaging 18.4 points per game as a junior.
Predicted Order of Finish
Team (1st-Place Votes) Total
1. Elon (7) 96
2. Davidson (3) 90
3. Western Carolina (1) 82
4. Appalachian State 67
6. Wofford 57
7. Chattanooga 50
8. UNCG 32
9. Georgia Southern 30
10. Furman 20
11. The Citadel 14
2013-14 Preseason All-Conference Team
Jay Canty, Appalachian State
De'Mon Brooks, Davidson
Ryley Beaumont, Elon
Jack Isenbarger, Elon
Lucas Troutman, Elon
Raijon Kelly, Samford
Tim Williams, Samford
Z. Mason, Chattanooga
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Karl Cochran, Wofford
2013-14 Preseason Player of the Year
De'Mon Brooks, Davidson
The Southern Conference media has also selected Elon as the preseason favorite for the upcoming 2013-14 men's basketball season. The Phoenix narrowly edged last year's tournament-champion Davidson Wildcats for the top spot. Elon earned 270 points and garnered 14 first-place votes, while Davidson was a close second with 268 points on the strength of 12 first-place votes.
Western Carolina was slotted in third place with 233 points. The Catamounts return 12 lettermen and all five starters from last year. Samford was tabbed fourth (176) as coach Bennie Seltzer enters his second year on the bench with the Bulldogs.
Wofford slipped past Appalachian State for the fifth spot. The Terriers garnered 165 points, with the Mountaineers just one point behind. Wofford returns all five starters from a season ago, while Appalachian State returns four starters from last year's team, which advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament.
Chattanooga was picked seventh (161) in the preseason poll. The Mocs are under first-year head coach Will Wade, who takes the reigns at Chattanooga after serving as an assistant coach at VCU. UNCG was picked eighth with 98 points. Head coach Wes Miller enters his second full season as head coach of the Spartans and brings six newcomers into the fold.
Furman (69) came in three points ahead of Georgia Southern (66). Both the Paladins and Eagles have new coaches this season as Niko Medved has taken over at Furman, while Mark Byington returns to the Southern Conference at Georgia Southern. Byington previously served as an assistant at College of Charleston and was the interim head coach during the 2011-12 season. The Citadel rounded out the poll with 46 points.
The 2013-14 season begins Nov. 8 when all 11 Southern Conference teams take the floor. The 2014 Southern Conference championship will be held March 7-10 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C.
SoCon Men's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish – Media Poll