Oct. 25, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Long Beach State earned 13 first-place votes and 194 points to emerge the favorite for the 2012-13 Big West men's basketball title, according to the annual preseason media poll released today. James Ennis was named to the Preseason Media All-Conference Team.
The 49ers outdistanced Cal State Fullerton, which accumulated 164 points with six first-place votes, and third place UC Irvine's 153 points and one first-place vote. The 21-member media panel tabbed new Big West member Hawaii for fourth place with 132 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara in fifth (129). Picking up the lone remaining first-place nod was Pacific, which tallied 113 points for sixth place in the poll.
LBSU brings back one starter, Ennis, from the 2011-12 club that finished 25-9 overall, won the Big West regular-season championship with a 15-1 record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Ennis earned All-Big West Honorable Mention recognition last season after averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-7 guard/forward also ranked No. 2 in the conference in steals (1.6 spg).
The 49ers also welcome back sophomore Mike Caffey, who played significant minutes off the bench on last year's senior-laden roster and is expected to assume the starting point guard reins. LBSU returns four other players who have lettered as 49ers. Juniors Kyle Richardson and Jerramy King return to the rotation after redshirting last season, while senior Peter Pappageorge and sophomore Nick Shepherd helped the 49ers advance to last year's NCAA Tournament. A host of Division I transfers are also being counted on to provide key production, including 6-9 forward Dan Jennings (West Virginia), 6-5 guard Keala King (Arizona State), 6-7 forward Tony Freeland (DePaul) and 6-10 forward Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount).
Long Beach State heads into the 2012-13 Big West Conference season with the second-best winning percentage in the country in league games over the last two years. The 49ers are 29-3 during that time, boasting a 90.6 winning percentage. LBSU trails only Belmont (92.1 percent), which has gone 35-3 during the same stretch.
Media Poll Results
1. Long Beach State (13) 194
2. Cal State Fullerton (6) 164
3. UC Irvine (1) 153
4. Hawaii 132
5. UC Santa Barbara 129
6. Pacific (1) 113
7. Cal Poly 100
8. Cal State Northridge 83
9. UC Davis 44
10. UC Riverside 43
( ) First-place votes
Preseason Media All-Conference Team
Name School Position Year Hometown
James Ennis Long Beach State Guard/Forward Senior Ventura, Calif.
Stephan Hicks Cal State Northridge Guard/Forward Sophomore Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Vander Joaquim Hawaii Center Senior Luanda, Angola
D. J. Seeley Cal State Fullerton Guard Senior Stockton, Calif.
Kwame Vaughn Cal State Fullerton Guard Senior Oakland, Calif.
Michael Wilder UC Irvine Forward/Guard Senior Long Beach, Calif.
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