Oct. 24, 2012
RUSTON - The Western Athletic Conference officially announced its men's basketball preseason media and coaches polls this morning along with the all-WAC teams. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were selected to finish fourth in each poll and sophomore guard Raheem Appleby was a first team all-WAC selection by both outlets.
After being picked to finish eighth in last year's preseason prognostications, first year head coach Michael White led his Bulldogs to a 6-8 record in conference play and a WAC Tournament Final appearance, a first in the program's history.
"Being picked fourth in the preseason after being picked last a season ago is a sign that our program is headed in the right direction," said coach White. "The WAC is a terrific league, and we look forward to competing again against some very good programs."
LA Tech returns nine letter winners from last year's squad, including the reigning WAC Freshman of the Year Raheem Appleby who was the team's leading scorer at 13.9 ppg. After finishing his first season as a second team All-WAC pick, the Jacksonville, Ark. native was selected preseason first team.
The rankings look completely different from last year with the additions of Denver, UT Arlington, UTSA, Seattle and Texas State to replace the departures of Nevada, Hawai'i and Fresno State, but at the top in both polls are the usual WAC powers New Mexico State and Utah State.
In the preseason poll voted on by the ten head coaches in the league, the Aggies of New Mexico State were selected to repeat as WAC champions, receiving five first place votes and 77 points. The Aggies of Utah State also captured five first place votes, but came in one point behind at 76.
Coming in third was the first of the new conference schools in Denver with 65 points. The Pioneers are coming off a 22-9 season led by first team all-WAC selection in forward Chris Udofia. In the fourth spot with 54 points came LA Tech.
The media poll had the exact four teams at the top of the rankings, but chose Utah State as this year's favorite with 15 first place votes and 232 points. New Mexico State was tabbed second with eight first place votes and 223 points. Denver followed in third (1, 181) and the Bulldogs in fourth (162).
Both parties selected the same All-WAC team members and Utah State's Preston Medlin as the league's preseason Player of the Year.
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