Eastern Kentucky University is not expected to make much of a splash in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, according to the conference’s coaches and sports information directors.
During basketball media day on Tuesday in Nashville, the EKU men were picked to finish seventh and the women 10th, out of 11 teams.
Junior Alex Jones was the only EKU player to be named to an all-conference team.
Last year she averaged 14.1 points and 9.0 rebounds for the Colonels, who finished 3-15 in conference and 6-21 overall.
In 2010-11 the men finished 15-16 overall and 9-9 in the OVC.
Austin Peay was picked to win the conference on the men’s side and Tennessee Tech was the overall pick for the women.
Tennessee Tech players Kevin Murphy (17 points per game, 4.5 rebounds) and Tacarra Hayes (16.9 points per game, 7.5 rebounds) were picked as the preseason players of the year.
The EKU men have some big shoes to fill. The Colonels lost their top two scorers, Spencer Perrin (13.3 points per game) and Justin Stommes (11.7).
Perrin also led the team with 5.5 rebounds per game and Stommes had a team-leading 2.6 assists and made 60 three-point shots, hitting three-pointers at a 42 percent clip.
Also gone is Josh Daniel (10.6 points per game).
The leading returning scorer is Joshua Jones, a 6-3, 201-pound senior guard who last year averaged 10.7 points per game and 2.5 rebounds. He made 37.8 percent of his three-pointers, sinking 51 for the season.
Other returning players include junior guard Willie Cruz (6-foot-3, 204) who averaged 6.3 points per game last year, and sophomore forward Jeff Johnson (6-foot-7, 264) who averaged 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Also back are senior guard Jeff Algood (6-4, 190, 3.1 points per game), sophomore guard Ryan Parsons (6-foot-2, 183, 3 points per game), sophomore guard Jabs Newby (6-foot-2, 183, 2.1 points per game), sophomore forward Deverin Muff (6-foot-7, 207, 1.3 points per game) and sophomore guard/forward Taylor Filipek (6-foot-5, 243, 1.1 points per game).
Newcomers include three freshmen: Timmy Knipp, a 6-foot-7, 204-pound guard from Olive Hill who played for Elliott County, Robbie Stenzel, a 6-foot-5, 183-pound guard from Winchester who played at George Rogers Clark, and Eric Stultz, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Newburgh, Ind.
Knipp averaged 26.5 points per game and 9.9 rebounds as a high school senior.
The Colonels are hosting Halloween Hoopfest on Thursday and will play Urbana in an exhibition game on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.
Both events are free and open to the public.
The season opener is Nov. 7 at Mississippi State.
From there, the Colonels will be on an extended road trip, playing their first eight games on the road before the home-opener against Brescia on Dec. 3.
The EKU women return their top three scorers.
Jones, a 6-foot-1 junior forward/center led the team in scoring and rebounding last season.
Also back is 5-foot-11 junior guard Brittany Coles, who averaged 13.2 points per game and 4.7 rebounds.
She led the team in three-pointers, sinking 47.
Marie Carpenter, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard averaged 12.9 points per game last season, hitting 43 three-point shots.
Jasmine Stovall, a 5-foot-9 senior, averaged 1.6 points per game last year.
The Colonels added freshmen Carla Booth, a 5-foot-7 guard from Warfield (Sheldon Clark High School) who averaged 23.3 points per game and 7 rebounds for the Lady Cardinals, who reached the final eight of the state high school basketball tournament during the spring.
Also new is Meredith Polson, a 5-foot-11 forward from Mt. Washington (Bullitt East).
The EKU women play an exhibition home game on Nov. 5 against the University of the Cumberlands and open the season on Nov. 13 at Xavier. The first home game is Nov. 17 against Louisville.