2016 OVC Media Day – EKU

NASHVILLE (WTVQ) – Eastern Kentucky University sophomore forward Nick Mayo has been voted to the Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Team, the league announced on Wednesday from its annual Media Day.

The EKU men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the OVC East in a preseason poll of league head coaches and media relations directors.

Mayo is the only underclassman on the 11-person Preseason All-OVC Team. Every other player is either a senior or junior.

The native of Oakland, Maine was voted OVC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-OVC in 2015-16. He made an immediate impact for Eastern in his first year in the league, emerging as one of the top freshmen in the entire country. Mayo was the only Colonel to start all 31 games, averaging 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 blocks/game while hitting 60.7 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from three-point range and 80.2 percent from the free throw line.

Mayo’s field goal percentage ranked him fourth in the OVC and 18th nationally. He ranked second in field goal percentage and 18th in total points (450) among all freshmen in the country.

In OVC-only games, the 6-9 forward upped his scoring average to 16.6 points/game, which ranked ninth in the league.

Mayo was named OVC Freshman of the Week nine times during the year, the second-most single-season awards in the history of the award. He became the fourth different Colonel player to be named OVC Freshman of the Year and first since Adam Leonard shared the award in 2006-07.

He is one of only two freshmen in the last five years to be named first team All-OVC, joining former Murray State guard and NBA first round draft pick Cameron Payne (2013-14).

EKU received one first-place vote and 60 points to finish fifth in the OVC East poll. Defending regular season champion Belmont was picked to win the East with 16 first-place votes and 126 points. The Bruins were followed by Tennessee State (six first-place votes / 106 points), Morehead State (one first-place votes / 98 points), Tennessee Tech (62 points), EKU and Jacksonville State (40).

Traditional power Murray State was picked to win the OVC West with 21 first-place votes and 131 points, followed by Eastern Illinois (95 points), defending conference tournament champion Austin Peay (two first-place votes / 88 points), UT Martin (one first-place vote / 82 points), SIUE (54 points) and Southeast Missouri (42 points).

Belmont was voted the overall conference favorite, while the Bruins’ senior forward Evan Bradds was named Preseason Player of the Year.

EKU came up one game short of making the OVC Tournament in Dan McHale’s first season as head coach. McHale installed an up-tempo style for the program, seeing the Colonels rank 18th nationally in scoring (80.5 points/game) including hitting the century mark three times during the campaign. EKU was also efficient in shooting and was the only OVC team to rank in the top three in the conference in three-point percentage (39.5%, 1st), field goal percentage (49.1%, 2nd) and free throw percentage (73.0%, 3rd).

In addition to Mayo, the Colonels also return senior guard Isaac McGlone and senior wing Jaylen Babb-Harrison. McGlone started 30 games last season and was a steady presence in the EKU backcourt. Babb-Harrison was a key scoring spark off the bench for McHale’s Colonels, leading the OVC in three-point percentage at 45.3%.

Eight newcomers joined the program in the offseason, including transfers Dillon Avare and Zach Charles and freshmen Marlon Adams, Lachlan Anderson, Parker Chitty, DeAndre Dishman, Asante Gist and Trevor Hill.

EKU opens the 2016-17 campaign with IUPUI at home on November 11 at 8:00 p.m.

2016-17 OVC Preseason Men’s Basketball Predicted Order of Finish

(Selected by OVC head coaches and media relations directors)

Overall Champion: Belmont (16 first-place votes)

East Division

  1. Belmont (16 first-place votes) – 126 points
  2. Tennessee State (6) – 106
  3. Morehead State (1) – 98
  4. Tennessee Tech – 62
  5. Eastern Kentucky (1) – 60
  6. Jacksonville State – 40

West Division

  1. Murray State (21 first-place votes) – 131 points
  2. Eastern Illinois – 95
  3. Austin Peay (2) – 88
  4. UT Martin (1) – 82
  5. SIUE – 54
  6. Southeast Missouri – 42

Preseason Player of the Year: Evan Bradds, Belmont

Categories: Basketball, EKU, Sports