BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Texas Southern University was picked to win the 2016-17 Southwestern Athletic Conference men's basketball championship in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
The announcement was made by the SWAC during its annual media teleconference on Wednesday, October 12.
The Tigers finished 2015-16 with an overall record of 18-15 and a 16-2 conference mark. TSU ended last season’s conference tournament in the semifinals, falling to eventual champion Southern. Runner-up Jackson State was picked to finish in second place, followed by Southern in third. Alabama State was predicted to finish fourth with Alcorn State coming in fifth.
Rounding out the poll includes: Prairie View A&M, Mississippi Valley State, Alabama A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Grambling State.
2016-17 All-SWAC Preseason Men's Basketball Team
The 2016-17 All-SWAC preseason first and second teams is highlighted by sophomore forward/center Derrick Griffin of TSU. Griffin was selected as the SWAC Preseason Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, a pair of honors he also earned at the end of last season, which made him the first player to accomplish the feat since the 2013-14 season when Aaric Murray claimed both honors for the Tigers.
An All-America honorable mention by the Associated Press, Griffin broke the SWAC single season record for consecutive double-doubles (12) and most in a season (17). He was the only player in the league to average a double-double throughout conference play with 13.5 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game, while also leading the SWAC in blocked shots with 2.3 per contest for a total of 55.
Additionally, Griffin was voted on as an All-SWAC preseason first team selection at center.
Rounding out the squad list are guards Paris Collins (Jackson State) and Marcus Romain (Mississippi Valley State), and forwards Tony Armstrong (Alabama State) and Chace Franklin (Jackson State).
The second team includes: guards Trelun Banks (Southern) and Rakiya Battle (Alabama A&M), and forwards Marquis Vance (Alcorn State) and Shawn Prudhomme (Southern), with Quinterian McConico earning the center spot from Alabama A&M.
In the event that a player was named to the first team during the postseason and does not return, the second team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based on the number of votes received.
Men's 2016-17 Preseason Award Winners
(Selected by SWAC Head Basketball Coaches and SID's)
Guard – Paris Collins-Jackson State
Guard – Marcus Romain-Mississippi Valley State
Forward – Tony Armstrong-Alabama State
Forward – Chace Franklin-Jackson State
Center – Derrick Griffin – Texas Southern
Guard – Trelun Banks-Southern
Guard – Rakiya Battle-Alabama A&M
Forward – Marquis Vance-Alcorn State
Forward – Shawn Prudhomme-Southern
Center – Quinterian McConico-Alabama A&M
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Texas Southern 180
2. Jackson State 165
3. Southern 160
4. Alabama State 118
5. Alcorn State 108
6. Prairie View A&M 91
7. Mississippi Valle State 67
8. Alabama A&M 60
9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 49
10. Grambling State 47