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Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Summit League preseason ballots

I just got done filling out my Summit League preseason ballots and thought I would share them. All voters are asked to rank the top 11 players, 1-11 and predict the order of finish for the league.

Top 11 players
1. Derick Nelson, Oakland, F – The senior forward can score, rebound and defend. His only question mark is free throw shooting and he was a solid free throw shooter before last season.
2. Robert Jarvis, Oral Roberts, G — Jarvis was the Golden Eagles best scorer last season and will need to be once again. I wonder if he will still sit the first two minutes this season?
3. Brett Winkelman, North Dakota State, F — From what I have seen he is the best player the Bison have. He led the league in rebounding and was fourth in scoring last season. He is a low-post threat and can shoot from the outside.
4. Johnathon Jones, Oakland, G — Jones can do just about everything you want a point guard to do and is a great defender. He is my sleeper pick for player of the year.
5. Ben Woodside, North Dakota State, G — Woodside looked very average against Oakland (mostly due to Jones), but there is no doubt he has talent. He was second in the league in scoring and fourth in assists.
6. Dane Brumagin, UMKC, G — Anybody who went to the Oakland-UMKC game remembers this guy. He was the guy who buried all the 3s to get the Kangaroos back in the game. He is a deadly outside shooter and led the league in free-throw percentage.
7. Gary Patterson, IUPUI, G — Having George Hill around helped Patterson find open shots last season, but Patterson will have to create his own offense this year.
8. Erik Kangas, Oakland, G — The collarbone injury really affected him last year, but he looked good in the tournament. Hopefully he will be at 100 percent all season because when he is on he is the best shooter in the league.
9. David Carson, IPFW, F — The former Golden Grizzly should have a big year. It seemed like he got better as the season went on last year and he looked great against Oakland.
10. Kai Williams, South Dakota State, F — Williams was a bright spot on the Jackrabbits awful season last year. SDSU will need another big season out of him, if not they could miss the tournament they are hosting.
11. Mike Nelson, North Dakota State, G — Often the forgotten man on the Bison, but he is a deadly shooter and can put some points on the board.

Note: For anybody that has not heard by now, Southern Utah’s Geoff Payne was not granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA so he won’t be back. Payne was a first-team all league selection last season and would have been in the mix for preseason player of the year if he came back.

My predicted order of finish
1. Oakland — The Grizzlies return just about everybody and add the best recruiting class in school history. Everything looks to be in line for Oakland to make its second NCAA tournament appearance.
2. North Dakota State — The Bison, who are eligible for postseason play for the first time, have had this season circled since they made the transition to Division I. The seniors want to go out on top and I’m sure they will have plenty of fans making the trip to South Dakota for the tournament.
3. Oral Roberts — The Golden Eagles lost a lot to graduation and dismissed Marchello Vealy, but don’t count them out. Oral Roberts has a brutal schedule to start the season and should be battle tested once Summit League play starts.
4. IUPUI — The loss of George Hills is huge, but the Jaguars still have talent. IUPUI expects big things from JC transfer Robert Glenn and returning starter Billy Pettiford.
5. IPFW — The Mastodons had a solid recruiting class and welcome in transfers Deilvez Yearby (Kansas State) and Aaron Richie (Central Michigan). IPFW also returns sophomore sharpshooter Ben Botts.
6. UMKC — Reggie Hamilton had a great freshman season and along with Dane Brumagin should led the Kangaroos to a respectable finish in the Summit Leauge.
7. Southern Utah — The Thunderbirds are young, but head coach Roger Reid will get the most he can out of them. Losing Geoff Payne really hurts, but Southern Utah returns two starters in David Marek and Tyler Quinney.
8. South Dakota State — The transition to Division I has not gone as well for the Jackrabbits as it has for NDSU. South Dakota State returns four starters in Kai Williams, Garrett Callahan, Clint Sargent, and Michael Palarcca so they should be improved.
9. Western Illinois — The Leahternecks welcome in new head coach Jim Molinari this season. WIU expects big things out of David DuBois, James Washington and Quenton Kirby.
10. Centenary — Greg Gary takes over as head coach of the Gents, who return Nick Stallings (15.9 ppg) and expect Chase Adams to have a breakout year. Centenary was dealt a blow when leading scorer Tyrone Hamilton left the school.

Women's preseason ballot
Top 11 players
1. Julia Whitted, IUPUI, C
2. Jessica Pike, Oakland, G
3. Mariana Camargo, Oral Roberts, G
4. Jernisha Cann, IUPUI, F
5. Jennifer Warkenthien, South Dakota State, F
6. Melissa Jeltema, Oakland, F
7. Janae Voelker, Oral Roberts, F
8. Hanna Reising, Oakland, F
9. Chazny Morris, UMKC, G
10. Maria Boever, South Dakota State, F
11. Anne Farrell, Centenary, C

Predicted order of finish
1. South Dakota State
2. Oral Roberts
3. Oakland
5. North Dakota State
7. Western Illinois
9. Southern Utah
10. Centenary

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