Pokes picked 9th in preseason media poll
LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming men's basketball team has been picked to finish ninth in the Mountain West, as the conference announced its 2020-21 preseason media poll and all-conference team today prior to the start of MW Virtual Media Day on Wednesday. The Cowboys garnered 59 points from media in the MW.
Wyoming returns three starters from last season's squad, as Hunter Maldonado started all 33 games. Hunter Thompson started 23 games with Kwane Marble II starting 11 games. Kenny Foster started six games for the Pokes. The Cowboys return nearly 50 percent of its scoring from last year from the four returners. That group collected 111 three-pointers on the season.
Wyoming welcomes eight newcomers to the 2019-20 roster, as the signing class was the top ranked class in the Mountain West and ranked No. 53 in the nation according to Rivals.com. That group featured four three-star recruits and a trio of junior college student athletes.
Linder's teams have consistently been one the best teams in the nation in defending the three-point line. Last season, Linder mentored a team that ranked fourth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense at 28 percent. In two of the last three season his teams led the nation in the amount of three-point field goals attempted by an opponent at 23 percent (2019-20) and 24 percent (2017-18), as those numbers came from KenPom.com.
San Diego State has been predicted to claim the 2020-21 Mountain West regular-season title as voted by the Conference media and announced Wednesday morning ahead of the league’s men’s basketball virtual media days. The Aztecs captured the 2019-20 MW regular-season title with a 17-1 league mark.
Coming off a historic season in 2019-20, San Diego State received 14 first-place votes, earning 211 points. The Aztecs have been selected as the Conference’s preseason favorite seven times since 1999. SDSU returns three starters, including 2019-20 All-MW first team selection Matt Mitchell, and a total of eight letterwinners from last year’s roster that finished with a 30-2 mark.
Boise State was picked second in the preseason poll with 188 points and four first-place votes, while Utah State, the 2020 Mountain West tournament champion, was selected third with 177 points and the remaining two first-place votes.
UNLV was chosen to finish fourth with 160 points, Colorado State in fifth with 141 points, Nevada in sixth with 114 points, New Mexico in seventh with 106 points, Fresno State in eighth with 93 points, Wyoming in ninth with 59 points, Air Force in 10th with 39 points and San José State in 11th with 32 points.
The preseason team, as selected by members of the media, is made up of two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Of the seven preseason honorees, five earned all-conference accolades at the end of 2019-20.
Boise State senior Derrick Alston, Jr. was selected Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year, while UNLV junior David Jenkins, Jr. was named MW Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Rebel Nick Blake garnered MW Preseason Freshman of the Year accolades.
Joining Alston on the preseason All-MW team are Colorado State’s Isaiah Stevens, San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell, UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton and Utah State’s Neemias Queta.
2020-21 MOUNTAIN WEST PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. San Diego State (14) 211
2. Boise State (4) 188
3. Utah State (2) 177
4. UNLV 160
5. Colorado State 141
6. Nevada 114
7. New Mexico 106
8. Fresno State 93
9. Wyoming 59
10. Air Force 39
11. San José State 32
Pos. Name Yr. Team
G Derrick Alston, Jr. Sr. Boise State
G Isaiah Stevens So. Colorado State
F Matt Mitchell Sr. San Diego State
G Bryce Hamilton Jr. UNLV
C Neemias Queta Jr. Utah State
Preseason Player of the Year
Derrick Alston, Jr., Sr., G, Boise State
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
David Jenkins, Jr., Jr., G, UNLV
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Nick Blake, G, UNLV