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Date Posted: 22:50:11 10/23/03 Thu
Author: Starter
Subject: Men's Basketball Mid-Con pre-season poll is out!

Oakland picked first in Mid-Con preseason men’s basketball poll; Golden Grizzlies’ Helms tabbed as preseason Player of the Year

ELMHURST, ILL. — Oakland, which returns three preseason all-league selections, is the favorite in the Mid-Continent Conference men’s basketball race this season, according to a vote of conference coaches, SID’s and selected media members. The Golden Grizzlies’ Mike Helms, the nation’s top returning scorer from a year ago, has been tabbed as the Mid-Con Preseason Player of the Year.

Oakland finished in a tie for second place in last year’s final standings, but Greg Kampe’s squad returns three of the league’s top talents in Helms (2002-03 Mid-Con Player of the Year), Rawle Marshall (Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year) and Cortney Scott. The Golden Grizzlies received 26 of a possible 33 firstplace votes in the poll. Valparaiso, which won its eighth regular-season title in nine years last season, picked up six first-place votes and finished second in the poll, while IUPUI, which toppled Valparaiso in the 2003 Mid-Con Tournament title game, garnered the remaining first-place vote and finished third.

UMKC was tabbed fourth in the preseason poll, while Oral Roberts followed in fifth and newcomer Centenary was picked sixth. Southern Utah, Western Illinois and Chicago State completed the poll.

Helms set a Mid-Con single-season scoring average with his 26.9 points per game in 2002-03, and finished third
nationally in scoring. Marshall averaged 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds last year, and added 41 blocks and 80 steals
on his way to Defensive Player of the Year honors. Scott, meanwhile, averaged 14.5 points per game and led the
conference in rebounding after becoming eligible following his transfer from Iowa.

Helms, Marshall and Scott make up half of the Mid-Con preseason all-conference first team. UMKC’s Michael Watson, a two-time first-team selection who has the league’s scoring title in his sights, was named to the first team; his 25.5 points per game ranked second in the Mid-Con and fourth nationally. Centenary’s Andrew Wisniewski (22.0 ppg), the 2002-03 Independent Player of the Year was also picked on the first team, as was IUPUI’s Odell Bradley (14.7 ppg).

The second team includes Chicago State’s Craig Franklin (13.6 ppg), IUPUI’s Matt Crenshaw (8.1 ppg), Oral Roberts’ Luke Spencer-Gardner (12.0 ppg), Southern Utah’s David Palmer (11.7 ppg) and Valparaiso’s Joaquim Gomes (9.2 ppg).

The top eight finishers in the Mid-Con regular-season standings will compete in the 2004 Mid-Con Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held from March 6-9 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

The Mid-Con Men’s and Women’s Basketball Preseason Media Teleconference is slated for Wednesday, November 5, at 9 a.m. CST.

2003-04 Men’s Basketball
Preseason Poll
Team Points
1. Oakland (26) 421
2. Valparaiso (6) 383
3. IUPUI (1) 311
4. UMKC 289
5. Oral Roberts 268
6. Centenary 191
7. Southern Utah 190
8. Western Illinois 129
9. Chicago State 95
(first place votes in parentheses)

2003-04 Mid-Con Preseason All-Conference Teams
FIRST TEAM
Name, School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG Other
Odell Bradley, IUPUI G Sr. Nashville, Tenn.
Mike Helms, Oakland G Sr. Detroit, Mich.
Rawle Marshall, Oakland G Jr. Detroit, Mich.
Cortney Scott, Oakland F Jr. Lansing, Mich.
Michael Watson, UMKC G Sr. Kansas City, Mo.
Andrew Wisniewski, Centenary G Sr. Staten Island, N.Y.

SECOND TEAM
Name, School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG Other
Matt Crenshaw, IUPUI G Sr. Charlottesville, Va.
Craig Franklin, Chicago State G Jr. Chicago, Ill.
Joaquim Gomes, Valparaiso F Sr. Luanda, Angola
David Palmer, Southern Utah F Sr. Robbins, Calif.
Luke Spencer-Gardner, Oral Roberts G Sr. Melbourne, Australia

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mike Helms, Oakland

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