BIRMINGHAM – Texas Southern has been picked to repeat as the Southwestern Athletic Conference men’s basketball champions in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
The announcement was made by the SWAC during its annual media teleconference on Wednesday, October 11.
The Tigers finished 2016-17 with an overall record of 23-12, a record with five more victories than the previous season, to go along with a 16-2 conference mark, a record they matched from the previous year. TSU wrapped up last season as the season’s conference tournament champions for the third time in the last four seasons after defeating Alcorn State 53-50.
Southern, a conference tournament semifinalist from a year ago, was selected to finish in second place, followed by Jackson State in third. Alcorn State, who reached the conference finals last season, was predicted to finish fourth with Prairie View A&M slotted in fifth.
Rounding out the poll includes Alabama State, Grambling State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M.
2017-18 All-SWAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Team
The 2017-18 All-SWAC preseason first and second teams are highlighted by Alcorn State senior forward Reginal Johnson, who was selected as the SWAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Johnson was a HBCU All-American, NABC All-District Second Team selection and All-SWAC Second Team selection from a year ago after ranking fourth in the conference in points per game (15.6), sixth in rebounds per game (7.1) and fourth in field goal percentage (.527).
Johnson was a steady contributor, scoring in double figures in 30 of 31 games played, and was a member of the All-SWAC Tournament Team and a two-time SWAC Player of the Week award winner in 2016-17.
Additionally, Johnson was voted on as an All-SWAC preseason first-team selection at forward.
The Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year award was awarded to Jackson State senior center Treshawn Bolden and Alcorn State sophomore forward Yalen Reed.
Bolden missed the 2016-17 season due to injury but helped the Tigers to a 20-win season in the previous season where he swatted 19 shots and averaged 3.6 rebounds per game in just 16.4 minutes of action.
Reed shot .558 percent from the field and had 18 blocks and six steals in just 8.4 minutes of action as the Braves finished as runners-up in the conference championship.
Rounding out the squad list are guards Demontrae Jefferson (Texas Southern) and Paris Collins (Jackson State), forwards Kevin Scott (Texas Southern) and Johnson (Alcorn State) and center Jared Sam (Southern).
Jefferson was sixth in the conference in scoring with 14.8 points per contest, fourth in assists (3.3 per game) and 13th in 3-pointers made (1.4 per game). Collins ranked 16th in scoring (12.3 per game), 10th in rebounding (5.3 per game), sixth in assists (2.8 per game) and was second in steals (2.0 per game).
Scott averaged 10.0 points per game (23rd) to go along with 4.9 rebounds per game (11th) and was 10th in field goal percentage (.442) and 10th in steals (1.3 per game). Sam was 12th in points (13.6 per game), second in field goal percentage (.589), fourth in rebounding (7.4 per game), seventh in free throw percentage (.764) and 10th in blocked shots per game (0.7).
The second team includes: guards A.J. Mosby (Alcorn State) and Chris Thomas (Southern), forwards Rodney Simeon (Alabama State) and Lamont Walker (Texas Southern) and Bolden (Jackson State) at the center position.
In the event that a player was named to the first team during the postseason and does not return, the second team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based on the number of votes received.
MEN’S 2017-18 PRESEASON AWARD WINNERS
(Selected by SWAC Head Basketball Coaches and SIDs)
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Reginal Johnson, Alcorn State
PRESEASON CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Treshawn Bolden, Jackson State
Yalen Reed, Alcorn State
Guard – Demontrae Jefferson, Texas Southern
Guard – Paris Collins, Jackson State
Forward – Reginal Johnson, Alcorn State
Forward – Kevin Scott, Texas Southern
Center – Jared Sam, Southern
Guard – A.J. Mosby, Alcorn State
Guard – Chris Thomas, Southern
Forward – Rodney Simeon, Alabama State
Forward – Lamont Walker, Texas Southern
Center – Treshawn Bolden, Jackson State
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Texas Southern (171)
Southern (131) Jackson State (124)
Alcorn State (117)
Prairie View A&M (99)
Alabama State (98)
Grambling State (75)
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (64)
Mississippi Valley State (60)
Alabama A&M (51)