RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth out of 10 teams in the 2009-10 preseason Ohio Valley Conference poll conducted by a vote of OVC head men’s basketball coaches and sports information directors. Meanwhile, junior guard Justin Stommes was named to the preseason all-conference team.
Eastern Kentucky returns three starters from last year’s squad that tallied 10 OVC victories and finished fifth in the final league standings. Only two of the 12 players on the roster are new to the team this season – junior transfer Spencer Perrin and freshman Willie Cruz.
Stommes, a native of Cold Spring, Minn., finished fourth in the conference in three-point shooting (41.9 percent) and first on the team in free throw shooting (82 percent) as a sophomore. He reached double figures in scoring five times in the final seven games in 2008-09 while shooting 49 percent from the floor. Stommes averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 27 starts one season ago.
Morehead State and Murray State each received 10 first-place votes and were picked as co-favorites for the 2009-10 season. Morehead State finished last season 12-6 in league play (fourth place) and went on to win the OVC tournament championship. Murray State was tied for second overall last season with a 13-5 record and lost in the OVC tournament semifinals. It marks just the third time since 1980-81, when preseason polls were first available, that co-favorites have been picked in the preseason poll (1991-92 and 1994-95).
The Colonels open the 2009-10 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 14, at home against West Virginia Wesleyan. Eastern Kentucky compiled an 18-13 record in 2008-09 while posting double-figure league victories for the fifth straight year.