BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Grambling State has been picked to finish first in the 2018-19 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) men's basketball standings in a preseason poll conducted by the conference office from the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
The announcement was made by the SWAC during its annual media teleconference call on Thursday.
The Tigers finished the 2017-18 season strong with conference best marks of 17-14 overall and 13-5 in conference play to earn the program’s first regular season championship since the 1988-89 season. Reigning SWAC Coach of the Year Donte Jackson returns to the bench for his second season.
Following close behind for a projected second place finish is Texas Southern, a program that has won the SWAC Championship in four of the previous five seasons and earned a 64-46 play-in round victory against North Carolina Central in the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who vastly exceeded preseason projections last season, was selected to finish in third place after topping Mississippi Valley State and Southern in last year’s SWAC Tournament to reach the Championship game.
Prairie View A&M, a semifinalist from a year ago after defeating Alcorn State in a quarterfinal before falling to Texas Southern, was slotted fourth while Alabama State has been selected to finish in fifth place.
Rounding out the poll includes: Southern, Alcorn State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M.
MEN’S 2018-19 PRESEASON AWARD WINNERS
(Selected by SWAC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Martaveous McKnight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Trayvon Reed, Texas Southern
Guard – Martaveous McKnight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Guard – Ivy Smith Jr., Grambling State
Forward – Charles Jackson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Forward – Dante Scott, Mississippi Valley State
Center – Trayvon Reed, Texas Southern
Guard – Gary Blackston, Prairie View A&M
Guard – Reginald Gee, Alabama State
Forward – Devante Jackson, Grambling State
Forward – Sydney Umude, Southern
Center – Brandon Johnson, Alabama State
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Grambling State (173)
2. Texas Southern (151)
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (143)
4. Prairie View A&M (132)
5. Alabama State (107)
6. Southern (104)
7. Alcorn State (81)
8. Jackson State (72)
9. Mississippi Valley State (45)
10. Alabama A&M (37)