CBS Sports.com Tabs ASU Second in Sun Belt West
Photo Courtesy: Arkansas State Athletics
JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - The Arkansas State University men's basketball team has been selected to finish second in the 2012-13 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Men's Basketball West Division Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released this Wednesday (Oct. 24) as part of the conference's annual media day.
The Red Wolves also placed three senior student-athletes on the 2012-13 All-SBC Preseason Team as guard Trey Finn claimed first-team accolades, forward Brandon Peterson earned second-team honors, and guard Marcus Hooten received third-team recognition.
"It's always good to be well thought of by the other (conference) coaches," said ASU head coach John Brady, who will begin his fifth year at A-State this 2012-13 season. "The respect of what others perceive your team to be is nice, but at this point we know that's all perception. You still have to play and produce while living up to what others say about you."
The Red Wolves received a second-most 40 total points in the West Division balloting as North Texas was tabbed as the preseason favorite with 55 points and all 11 first-place votes. UALR placed third with 33 points followed by Louisiana-Lafayette's fourth-place 24 points total. Rounding out the division was Louisiana-Monroe, which garnered 13 points. Middle Tennessee was tabbed as the six-team East Division favorite with 11 first-place votes and 65 total points. South Alabama and Western Kentucky occupied the next two highest placings by recording 51 and 47 points, respectively. A season ago, A-State was picked to win the West Division as the Red Wolves tallied 64 points and received eight first-place votes.
Finn, who was a 2012 SBC All-Tournament Team member, claimed preseason all-conference laurels for the third year in a row after landing third-team preseason kudos a season ago. The 2012-13 team tri-captain averaged a team third-best 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds as a starter in 29 of 30 contests played in last season while leading the Red Wolves in three-point field goals made (61) and three-point field goal percentage (.459).
Peterson returns for his final season after averaging team highs in both rebounding (7.9 avg.) and blocked shots (0.9 avg.) this past season. A 2012-13 ASU tri-captain, Peterson racked up a squad-best 267 rebounds and had 33 blocks to go with a team fourth-best 9.2 points an outing while starting in all 34 contests for the 2011-12 campaign.
Hooten was A-State's leading scorer last season with a 12.5 points per game average, which featured a squad-high 425 total points. A starter in 33 of ASU's 34 contests a season ago, the 2012-13 team tri-captain grabbed 2.4 rebounds a game to go with a squad third-most 42 three-point field goals made.
"Their (Finn, Peterson, and Hooten) selection speaks well of our base and where we start this season from," said Brady. "These three seniors along with some productive transfers and a solid recruiting class lends itself to us being a much better basketball team this season."
The Red Wolves, who open with a Nov. 1 home exhibition tilt against Southern Arkansas at 7 p.m. (CT), are scheduled to appear twice on television this 2011-12 season. A-State will be featured on the Sun Belt Network in its Jan. 26 home game versus Florida Atlantic and on Feb. 7 at Middle Tennessee with ESPN3 televising the contest.
2012-13 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
West Division - Points (First-Place Votes)
1. North Texas -- 55 pts. (11)
2. Arkansas State -- 40 pts.
3. UALR - 33 pts.
4. Louisiana-Lafayette - 24 pts.
5. Louisiana-Monroe - 13 pts.
East Division - Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Middle Tennessee -- 65 pts. (11)
2. South Alabama - 51 pts.
3. Western Kentucky - 47 pts.
4. Florida Atlantic - 29 pts.
5. Troy - 22 pts.
6. FIU - 17 pts.