The start of college basketball is just around the corner, and teams have already started practice across the nation. Since the season is set to start on Nov. 10, conferences are also kicking off media days.
On Oct. 11, the Southwest Athletic Conference held its media day, where coaches and sports-information directors named men’s basketball preseason Players of the Year and All-SWAC teams, and predicted the order in which teams would finish.
Alcorn State University forward Reginal Johnson was the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and also earned HBCU All-American and Second-Team All-SWAC honors for his play. He scored double-digits in 30 of 31 games and averaged 15.6 points per game.
Johnson was a member of the All-SWAC Tournament Team and was the Player of the Week twice last season.
Jackson State University center Treshawn Bolden was an SWAC Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Preseason Second-Team All-SWAC. He missed last season due to an injury, but in the previous year, he averaged 3.6 rebounds per game and made 16 blocks.
Alcorn State forward Yalen Reed, who finished with 18 blocks last season and six steals, was also an SWAC Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Jackson State guard Paris Collins received Preseason First-Team All-SWAC honors, and Alcorn State guard A.J. Mosby was on the Preseason Second-Team All-SWAC.
SWAC officials selected defending regular-season and tournament champion Texas Southern University, a school whose women’s team also won the SWAC title, to win the conference again this year with 171 points. They picked Southern University to finish in second place with 131 points.
Jackson State had 124 points for a third-place finish, and Alcorn State followed with 117 points for fourth place. Prairie View A&M University had 99 points for fifth place, just ahead of sixth-place Alabama State University with 98 points.
Conference members predicted that Grambling State University would finish seventh with 75 points, and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff earned 64 points to get eighth place. Mississippi Valley State University placed ninth with 60 points, and voters predicted a last-place finish for Alabama A&M University with 51 points.
Preseason predictions for SWAC women’s basketball also came out on Oct. 11. Alcorn State guard Alexus Freeman earned SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
She was the SWAC Newcomer of the Year last season and was the second Alcorn State player to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors. She averaged under 11 points last season with 5.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. She earned Preseason Second-Team All-SWAC at guard, tying with Grambling guard Monisha Neal for the honor.
Last season’s tournament champion, Texas Southern, received 149 points for a predicted first-place finish. Grambling State, the regular-season champion from last season, narrowly finished in second place with 146 points.
Alabama State, with 120 points, took third place, and Southern landed in fourth with 108 points. Alcorn State had 89 points for a fifth-place finish, and Prairie View A&M had 73 points for sixth place.
Conference officials picked Arkansas-Pine Bluff to finish seventh with 66 points and Jackson State to finish eighth with 63 points. Alabama A&M landed in ninth place with 34 points, just barely edging out Mississippi Valley State, who earned 32 points.