IRVINE, Calif. – (Hawaii Athletics) The
Big West Conference announced its men's basketball preseason media poll with
the University of Hawai'i picked to finished in fourth place. Meanwhile, senior
center Vander Joaquim was selected to
the six-player preseason all-conference team.
The 21-member media panel tabbed Long Beach State as the preseason favorite with 13 first-place votes and 194 points. 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.
Hawai'i, which begins its inaugural campaign in the Big West after 33 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, garnered 132 points for fourth place. UH was followed by UC Santa Barbara in fifth (129), while Pacific picked up the lone remaining first-place vote and tallied 113 points for sixth place. Rounding out the poll were Cal Poly (100), Cal State Northridge (83), UC Davis (44) and UC Riverside (43).
The Rainbow Warriors, under the direction of three-year head coach Gib Arnold, return four letterwinners and three redshirt players from last year's squad that finished 16-16 and 6-8 in the WAC. A group of nine talented newcomers also join this year's squad.
Joaquim garnered preseason accolades from the Big West after an outstanding junior campaign in which was a first-team all-WAC and all-region selection. Last year, the native of Luanda, Angola led UH in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounding (9.5 rpg), field goal percentage (.560) and blocks (58), while posting a team-high 12 double-doubles.
Joining Joaquim on the six-player preseason all-conference team were D. J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn of Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State's James Ennis, UC Irvine's Mike Wilder, and Cal State Northridge's Stephan Hicks.
UH begins the year with an exhibition against Hawai'i Pacific on Friday, Nov. 2. The team officially opens the 2012-13 regular season against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Friday, Nov. 9 in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic.
2012-13 Big West Preseason Media Poll
1. Long Beach State (13) -194 points
2. Cal State Fullerton (6) - 164
3. UC Irvine (1) - 153
4. Hawai'i - 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
James Ennis, G/F, Sr, Long Beach State
Stephan Hicks, G/F, So, Cal State Northridge
Vander Joaquim, C, Sr, Hawai'i
D. J. Seeley, G, Sr., Cal State Fullerton
Kwame Vaughn, G, Sr., Cal State Fullerton
Michael Wilder, F/G, Sr., UC Irvine