The Horizon League announced its preseason predictions and all-league picks at the conference’s annual Media Day on Friday morning with Green Bay being tabbed to finished 6th.
Media Day was held at Little Caesers Arena, the brand new $862.9 million arena in downtown Detroit that will be home to the Red Wings and Pistons as well has the Horizon League’s conference tournament this March.
Defending regular-season champion Oakland was picked to win the championship again this year while reigning conference tournament champion Northern Kentucky was picked second. UIC, Detroit Mercy, and Wright State round out the top five.
Youngstown State, Milwaukee, Cleveland State, and conference-newcomer IUPUI make up the rest of the conference predictions. The poll is voted on by conference coaches, sports information directors, and various media outlets that cover the league.
Green Bay was shut out of individual preseason accolades for the first time in at least ten years when the league announced its preseason all-league first and second teams. Northern Kentucky’s Drew McDonald was named the league’s preseason Player of the Year with Oakland’s Jaylen Hayes and Martez Walker, UIC’s Dikembe Dixson, and Youngstown State’s Cam Morse rounding out the first team.
The Phoenix will only have three players from last year’s roster eligible to play when they open the season on November 14th at Northern Illinois. Green Bay will have to replace six seniors and two other starters – Kerem Kanter and Trevor Anderson – who transferred following last season.
The Phoenix did get good news on Friday when the NCAA approved junior Sandy Cohen’s waiver to gain an extra season of eligibility. He will be able to play after the first semester ends beginning on December 21st against Bowling Green.
Last season, Green Bay was predicted to finish third and did just that, finishing at 12-6 in Horizon League play, tied for third with Northern Kentucky. The Phoenix were the #3 seed and fell to #6 seed UIC in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Ironically, Green Bay was also tabbed to finish 6th in the 2015/2016 preseason poll and went on to win the conference tournament and make their first NCAA appearance in 20 years after finishing 11-4 in league’s regular season and entering the conference tournament as the #4 seed.
Team (First-Place votes) / Total Votes
Oakland (31) / 453
Northern Kentucky (10) / 414
UIC (3) / 347
Detroit Mercy (1) / 273
Wright State / 259
Green Bay / 249
Youngstown State (1) / 209
Milwaukee (1) / 161
Cleveland State / 125
IUPUI / 95
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky
FIRST TEAM (Notes)
Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky (16.9 ppg, 7.6 rebs)
Jalen Hayes, Oakland (17.9 ppg, 9.2 rebs)
Martez Walker, Oakland (17.8 ppg overall)
Dikembe Dixson, UIC (20.3 ppg, 6 rebs – all gms.)
Cameron Morse, Youngstown State (23.2 ppg led HL )
SECOND TEAM (Notes)
Corey Allen, Detroit Mercy (15.4 ppg, 16-17 HL FOTY)
Jaleel Hogan, Detroit Mercy (16.9 ppg, 6.9 rebs)
Lavone Holland II, Northern Kentucky (14.5 ppg, 4.1 ast overall)
Kendrick Nunn, Oakland (15.5 ppg at Illinois in 15-16)
Tai Odiase, UIC (3.2 blks, 16-17 HL DPOTY)