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May 3, 2011

Rivals.com Preseason All-Low-Major Team

The Rivals.com Preseason All-Low-Major team doesn't have the star power it had last season -- when future NBA big men Keith Benson and Kenneth Faried led the team -- but this season's team is more backcourt-oriented.

Weber State's Damian Lillard and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum should be among the nation's leading scorers in 2011-12, and two of our "reserve" guards -- Belmont's Ian Clark and Boston U.'s Darryl Partin -- have legitimate chances to be the preseason players of the league in their respective conferences.

While our big men aren't as accomplished as last season's, they still are quite productive.

For the All-Low-Major team, we considered players from the following leagues: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big South, Big Sky, the Independent ranks (including the Great West), Ivy, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southland and Southwestern Athletic. We looked back at league RPI rankings over the past five years, and those conferences had the 12 worst averages in that span.

Wednesday, we will unveil our Preseason All-Mid-Major team.

PRESEASON ALL-LOW-MAJOR TEAM
F Ken Horton, Central Connecticut

Particulars: 6-6/195, Sr.; Ossining (N.Y.) High
League: Northeast
The buzz: Horton was the Northeast Conference player of the year after averaging 19.5 points and 8.9 rebounds. He averaged a double-double in league games (21.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg). Horton also averaged 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals. Horton sat out the 2009-10 season with a hip injury after being named a second-team all-league pick in 2008-09.
F Patrick Richard, McNeese State

Particulars: 6-4/208, Sr.; Carencro (La.) High
League: Southland
The buzz: Richard did a little bit of everything for the Cowboys, who won the Southland regular-season title but faltered in the league tourney. He averaged 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds, along with 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals, and shot 47.5 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from 3-point range,
F Keith Wright, Harvard

Particulars: 6-8/240, Sr.; Norfolk (Va.) Norfolk Collegiate School
League: Ivy
The buzz: He was the Ivy League player of the year after leading the Crimson in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). He might be the main reason Harvard figures to enter the 2011-12 season as the prohibitive favorite in the Ivy. The Crimson tied for the regular-season title last season but lost to Princeton in a one-game playoff and went to the NIT.
G Damian Lillard, Weber State

Particulars: 6-2/185, Sr.; Oakland High
League: Big Sky
The buzz: Lillard played in just nine games in 2010-11 before suffering a season-ending foot injury; he was averaging 19.7 points when he was hurt. He was the Big Sky player of the year as a sophomore in 2009-10 -- when he averaged 19.9 points and shot 39.3 percent from 3-point range -- and was a first-team all-league selection as a freshman in 2008-09. He was the first true freshman in league history to earn first-team honors.
G C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

Particulars: 6-3/180, Jr.; Canton (Ohio) Glen Oak
League: Patriot
The buzz: McCollum was the Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year as a high school senior, and picked up where he left off as a true freshman for the Mountain Hawks in 2009-10, leading the league in scoring and being named player of the year. As a sophomore last season, McCollum stuffed the stat sheet by averaging 21.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 steals, and he again was a first-team all-league selection. He led the league in scoring and steals and was third in rebounds.
THE BENCH
C Antwan Carter, Longwood/Independent
Particulars: 6-6/225, Sr.; St. Petersburg (Fla.) High
C Mike Muscala, Bucknell/Patriot
Particulars: 6-11/232, Jr.; Roseville (Minn.) High
C Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State/MEAC
Particulars: 6-10/240, Sr.; Cambria Heights (N.Y.) Campus Magnet
F Stan Okoye, VMI/Big South
Particulars: 6-5/205, Jr.; Raleigh (N.C.) Knightdale
G Ian Clark, Belmont/Atlantic Sun
Particulars: 6-3/175, Jr.; Germantown (Tenn.) High
G Darryl Partin, Boston U./America East
Particulars: 6-6/190, Sr.; Wilson (N.C.) Charis Prep; transfer from La Salle
G Zack Rosen, Penn/Ivy
Particulars: 6-1/175, Sr.; Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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