New Orleans, La. (10/30/13) - The results have been tabulated and the Arkansas State University men's basketball team has been picked third in the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Coaches Preseason Poll, which was announced this Wednesday (Oct. 30) morning by the conference office.
Arkansas State also landed two student-athletes on the 2013-14 All-Sun Belt Conference Preseason Team with senior guard Brandon Reed earning second-team recognition and senior guard Ed Townsel achieving third-team laurels.
A-State garnered 74 points in the conference balloting and finished four points behind second-place South Alabama, which picked up 78 points and two first-place votes. Western Kentucky was tabbed as the preseason favorite with 91 points and had five first-place votes. SBC newcomer Georgia State and Louisiana-Lafayette tied for fourth place with 73 points each. UALR (48 points) placed sixth followed by UT Arlington (36), Texas State (34), Troy (26), and UL-Monroe (17). Voting for both the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Poll and Teams was conducted by the conference's 10 head coaches.
A season ago, the Red Wolves chosen to place second in the SBC West Division Poll with 40 points after being picked to win the division in 2011-12 as a result of totaling 64 points and eight first-place votes. This past season, A-State produced a 19-12 overall record and claimed its second SBC West Division title in the last three seasons.
Reed, who attained both SBC Freshman of the Year and second-team All-SBC accolades for the 2009-10 season, averaged a team-high 15.1 points per game and tallied an A-State freshman record 469 points in his lone season (2009-10) with the Red Wolves. A starter in 30 of the 2009-10 team's 31 contests, Reed also received National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 24 Second-Team honors and earned United States Basketball Writers of America All-District plaudits. The 6-4, 182-pound Reed spent two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13) at Georgia Tech where he compiled career per game averages of 6.4 points (391 pts.), 2.9 rebounds (177 rebs.) and 1.2 assists (75 asts.) in 61 contests, which included 43 outings as a starter.
Townsel was A-State's leading scorer last season with a 13.1 points per game average and netted a squad-most 407 points. The 6-0, 171-pound backcourt player also led the Red Wolves in steals (49), field goals made (135), and three-point field goals made (66) this past season while averaging 3.2 rebounds (99 rebs.) and 1.2 assists (37 asts.) in 31 contests. Townsel, who posted double-digit points in a team-high 20 contests a season ago, currently ranks sixth among the program's all-time leaders in steals with a 134 career total and his 133 three-point field goals made ranks eighth best.
The Red Wolves, who are coached by John Brady, will open the 2013-14 season with a pair of home exhibition contests, starting this Saturday (Nov. 2) evening versus Henderson State. A-State then squares off against Arkansas-Monticello on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in its final exhibition tilt. Both games are slated for a 7:05 p.m. (CST) start at the A-State Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. Arkansas State's regular-season opener is Monday, Nov. 11, at Jackson (Miss.) State with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (CST). The home opener for the Red Wolves is Wednesday, Nov. 13, against Tennessee-Martin in a 7:05 p.m. (CST) encounter.
2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
(First-Place votes in parenthesis)
1. Western Kentucky (5) - 91 points
2. South Alabama (2) - 78 points
3. Arkansas State - 74 points
4T. Georgia State (2) - 73 points
4T. Louisiana-Lafayette (1) - 73 points
6. UALR - 48 points
7. UT Arlington - 36 points
8. Texas State - 34 points
9. Troy - 26 points
10. UL-Monroe (ULM) - 17 points
Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State, So., G)
Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., F)
Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., G)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., F)
T.J. Price (Western Kentucky, Jr., G)
Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team
Will Neighbour (UALR, Sr., F)
Brandon Reed (Arkansas State, Sr., G)
Ryan Harrow (Georgia State, RJr., G)
Joel Wright (Texas State, Sr., F)
George Fant (Western Kentucky, Jr., F)
Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Third Team
Ed Townsel (Arkansas State, Sr., G)
Jayon James (UL-Monroe, Sr., F)
Mychal Ammons (South Alabama, Jr., F)
Brandon Edwards (UT Arlington, Sr., F)
Hunter Williams (Troy, Sr., G)
Preseason Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Sr., F)