NMSU Men's Basketball Picked To Win WAC; Ian Baker Named First Team Preseason All-WAC

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

DENVER, CO - A new era of basketball has begun in Las Cruces, but New Mexico State men's basketball will keep chugging along full steam ahead according to league coaches and its media as the Aggies were picked to win the Western Athletic Conference in both polls.

In the coaches' poll, NM State tallied four first-place votes to Grand Canyon's three to take the top spot by a narrow margin of 45-44. The slim margin was also echoed in the media poll with the Aggies picking up nine first-place votes to GCU's eight gives them a 167-165 edge. CSU Bakersfield took third in both polls while Utah Valley and Seattle U flip flopped spots in each of the polls for fourth and fifth. UMKC, UT Rio Grande Valley and Chicago State rounded out the rest of the polls in the same order.

Senior Ian Baker also garnered preseason first-team honors in both the coaches' and media polls. The Aggie floor general averaged 13.8 points and 3.7 assists last season to go with his 4.6 boards per game. He also led the Aggies in scoring four different times and scored 20-plus points five times.

The Washington, D.C., native started in all 34 games last season and shot a .425 clip on the year. Baker made headlines on Jan. 23 when he hit the game-winning 3-pointer at CSU Bakersfield in the second overtime period.

Grand Canyon's Joshua Braun was the 2016-17 preseason player of the year pick in both polls while Baker, Dedrick Basile (CSUB), Martez Harrison (UMKC) and Brandon Westendorf join him on All-WAC Preseason First-Team.

2016-17 Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll
Rank Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
1 NM State (4) 45
2 Grand Canyon (3) 44
3 CSU Bakersfield (1) 38
4 Utah Valley 27
T-5. Seattle U 25
T-5. UMKC 25
7 UT Rio Grande Valley 13
8 Chicago State 7

2016-17 Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches’ All-WAC Teams
First Team
Ian Baker, NM State
Dedrick Basile, CSU Bakersfield
Joshua Braun, Grand Canyon
Martez Harrison, UMKC
Brendan Westendorf, Seattle U

Second Team
LaVell Boyd, UMKC
Antonio Green, UT Rio Grande Valley
Zach Nelson, Utah Valley
William Powell, Seattle U
DeWayne Russell, Grand Canyon

Preseason Player of the Year: Joshua Braun, Grand Canyon

2016-17 Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll
Rank Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
1 NM State (9) 167
2 Grand Canyon (8) 165
3 CSU Bakersfield (2) 147
4 Seattle U (1) 108
5 Utah Valley (2) 100
6 UMKC (2) 96
7 UT Rio Grande Valley 56
8 Chicago State 25

2016-17 Preseason Men’s Basketball Media All-WAC Teams
First Team
Ian Baker, NM State
Dedrick Basile, CSU Bakersfield
Joshua Braun, Grand Canyon
Martez Harrison, UMKC
Brandon Westendorf, Seattle U

Second Team
Jaylin Airington, CSU Bakersfield
Antonio Green, UT Rio Grande Valley
Dan Kimasa, UT Rio Grande Valley
Zach Nelson, Utah Valley
William Powell, Seattle U

Preseason Player of the Year: Joshua Braun, Grand Canyon