MACON, Ga. (Oct. 12, 2011) – ETSU has placed a pair of senior leaders on the 2011-12 Atlantic Sun Conference preseason all-conference team, as guard/forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and forward Isiah Brown (Miami) were named to the squad released by the league offices on Wednesday.
As a team, the Buccaneers were picked to finish second by both the media and the coaches, with defending champion Belmont earning the top spot in both polls. ETSU, which finished second in the league a year ago and won 24 games en route to a semifinal run at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, will look to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after making back-to-back trips to March Madness in 2009 and 2010.
Along with his place on the all-conference team, Brown was also picked as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year. A year ago, Brown set ETSU records for blocks in a single season and a career. Brown ranked in the top-10 of three A-Sun statistical categories last season including rebounding (7.2; 4th), blocks (1.97; 4th) and field-goal percentage (.514; 6th). Hubbard returns after missing the majority of last season, but brings plenty of experience as he led the Bucs in scoring (13.9) and rebounds (8.2) during the 2009-10 season.
As for the rest of the league, four unanimous choices were selected, which included Mick Hedgepeth and Ian Clark from Belmont, Kennesaw State’s Markeith Cummings as the Preseason Player of the Year, and USC Upstate’s Torrey Craig.
The Bruins also placed senior Scott Saunders on the preseason team as he joins Clark and Hedgepeth as the top-three scorers from the 2010-11 squad that won 28 games and captured the 2011 A-Sun Championship. Clark led the way in scoring with 12.2 points per outing, while Hedgepeth and Saunders contributed 10.8 and 9.9, respectively.
North Florida and Jacksonville split the third position in the coaches and media poll. The Ospreys earned No. 3 in the coaches poll after reaching the 2011 A-Sun Championship Final against Belmont as Jerron Granberry and Andy Diaz both received preseason recognition. The duo started all 34 games for UNF last season as Granberry averaged 12.0 points per outing and Diaz followed with 10.6.
The Dolphins’ Delwan Graham earned selection to the team after averaging 9.0 points and 6.4 rebounds and helped Jacksonville win its second postseason game in as many years when the Dolphins defeated East Carolina in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Mercer and Lipscomb were next in both polls earning the fifth and sixth spots, respectively. The Bisons placed Jordan Burgason onto the preseason team following last season in which he led the league in three-pointers made per game with 2.8 and ranked fifth in 3-point percentage at .418.
No. 7 in both polls, Kennesaw State starts the 2011-12 season with a new head coach, Lewis Preston, but returns the top scorer from last season with Cummings. The junior hybrid player averaged 18.3 points last year and contributed 1.48 steals – ninth in the A-Sun. FGCU followed the Owls in the poll and also welcome a new frontman as Andy Enfield leads the Eagles program.
USC Upstate and Stetson complete both preseason polls as the Hatters jumpstart the season with new Head Coach Casey Alexander, who comes to Deland following 16 years working the sidelines at Belmont as an assistant and associate head coach. Craig, the 2010-11 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, completes the preseason team as he led the Spartans with averages of 14.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.27 three-pointers made last season – all of which ranked in the top-eight of the conference.