Dogs Picked 4th, 5th, Smith Named All-WAC
Oct. 19, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. - With a fresh start and high expectations, the Fresno State men's basketball team was predicted to finish fourth and fifth in the annual Western Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, respectively, the WAC announced Tuesday morning.
"We want to win the WAC," head coach Steve Cleveland said. "I really like the young men in our program and feel we have a team who is getting better every day."
Sophomore center Greg Smith, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year, was named first-team Preseason All-WAC by the conference coaches and Preseason All-WAC by the media after a breakout season.
"This is our year to re-establish this program," said head coach Steve Cleveland. 'We have a tough schedule this season and we will be ready to compete at the highest level."
Smith, a center and local product out of Fresno's Edison High School, powered the low post for the Bulldog men's basketball team as a starter in every game and averaged 12 points and six rebounds per game. He was honored by the WAC head coaches as the second WAC Freshman of the Year in program history, a member of the WAC's All-Newcomer Team and earned a spot on CollegeInsider.com's Freshman All-America team.
In 16 conference games, Smith averaged 11.4 points per contest and 5.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.1 percent from the field.
Smith ranked 12th nationally in field goal percentage and tied teammate Paul George, who was drafted No. 10 overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2010 NBA Draft, with a team-high four double-doubles.
The Utah State Aggies were selected to win the WAC in both polls, while USU senior Tai Wesley was tabbed the league's preseason Player of the Year by the nine head coaches while the media honored San Jose State guard Adrian Oliver as the preseason Player of the Year and Utah State junior guard Brockeith Pane as this year's preseason Newcomer of the Year.
Utah State, the 2009-10 WAC regular season champion, received all eight possible first place votes and 64 points. New Mexico State, the 2010 WAC tournament champion, captured second place with 55 points and the other first-place vote. Head coaches cannot vote for their own team. Nevada took third place with 47 points.
With 36 points, Fresno State tied with Boise State for the fourth spot. San Jose State (32) and Louisiana Tech (24) followed closely behind in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Idaho (19) and Hawai`i (11) finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Wesley, the coaches' pick for preseason Player of the Year, was a first-team all-WAC selection last season for the Aggies as he led the team in scoring (13.7), rebounding (6.6) and blocked shots (1.31). He helped Utah State to a third-straight WAC regular season title and an at-large bid into last season's NCAA Tournament.
Smith, Oliver and Wesley led the list of first-teamers. New Mexico State's junior forward Troy Gillenwater and senior forward Wendell McKines also earned spots on the preseason first team.
Second-team selections include Tyler Newbold (Utah State), Daequon Montreal (Boise State), Olu Ashaolu (Louisiana Tech), Nate Bendall (Utah State) and Pooh Williams (Utah State).
In the media poll, Utah State received 259 points and 19 first-place votes. New Mexico State was picked second with 237 points and eight first place votes. Nevada garnered 190 points and two first place votes for third place followed by San Jose State with 135 points and one first place vote. Fresno State was fifth with 133 points followed by Boise State with 129 points. Louisiana Tech was seventh with 116 points, followed by Idaho (78) and Hawai`i (73).
Oliver received the preseason media Player of the Year honor after finishing the 2009-10 season tied for fourth nationally in scoring with a 22.5 points per game average, the highest average by a WAC player since Fresno State's Melvin Ely averaged 23.3 points a game in 2002. Oliver was a first-team all-WAC selection last season.
Pane, this season's media Newcomer of the Year, is a transfer from Midland Junior College, where he earned first-team all-conference and first-team all-district honors as a sophomore. He helped lead the Chaparrals to a 30-3 record and a No. 1 national ranking for all but two weeks of the season. Pane averaged 12.0 points, 2.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field.
The media's All-WAC team included Smith, Gillenwater, McKines, Oliver and Wesley.
2010-11 Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches Poll
Teams (1st Place Votes) - Points
1. Utah State (8) - 64
2. New Mexico State (1) - 55
3. Nevada - 47
T4. Fresno State - 36
T4. Boise State - 36
6. San Jose State - 32
7. Louisiana Tech - 24
8. Idaho - 19
9. Hawai`i - 11
--Note: Head Coaches cannot vote for their own team--
Preseason All-WAC Teams
Player of the Year: Tai Wesley, Utah State
2010-11 Preseason Men's Basketball Media Poll
Preseason All-WAC Team
Preseason Player of the Year: Adrian Oliver, Sr., G, San Jose State
"We Are Your Team" - The first chance to see the Bulldogs will be on Oct. 26 when they host "Red and White Night" in the Save Mart Center with three-point shooting and dunk contests as well as a chance to meet both the men's and women's basketball teams.