Release  Horizon League ·

Oct. 25, 2004

Indianapolis - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been predicted to claim the 2004-05 Horizon League men's basketball championship, while the University of Illinois at Chicago's Cedrick Banks has been selected the Preseason Player of the Year in voting results released Wednesday (Oct. 20) by the League office. Voting was conducted by the Horizon League's head men's basketball coaches, sports information directors and media members.

UW-Milwaukee, the defending regular-season champion, received 308 points and 19 of 38 first-place votes to edge reigning tournament titlist UIC, which garnered 306 points and 11 first-place votes. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay was picked third with 233 points and five first-place votes.

The University of Detroit Mercy was fourth with 230 points, followed by Butler University (216 points) in fifth place and Wright State (169) in sixth. All three received one first-place vote as six of the League's nine schools were top picks on at least one ballot. Rounding out the poll were Cleveland State University (98) in seventh, Loyola University Chicago (81) in eighth and Youngstown State University (69) in ninth.

Banks headlines the Horizon League Preseason First Team, which also includes Ed McCants of UW-Milwaukee, Armond Williams of UIC, Omari Westley of Cleveland State and Joah Tucker of UWM. The Preseason Second Team features Brandon Morris of UW-Green Bay, Ryvon Covile of Detroit, Avery Sheets of Butler, Javier Mendiburu of UW-Green Bay and DeShaun Wood of Wright State.

Banks and McCants were All-Horizon League First-Team selections last season, while Morris was a second-team pick. In addition, McCants, Westley, Tucker, Morris and Wood were named to the All-Newcomer Team.

Banks, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, enters the season looking to become the Horizon League's first three-time postseason first-team selection since Rashad Phillips of Detroit from 1999-2001. Last season Banks ranked third in the conference with 18.4 points per game while shooting a League-best 43.1 percent from three-point range en route to first-team honors for the second straight year. He led the Flames to the Horizon League Tournament title and their second NCAA Tournament berth in three years. Banks, who received second-team honors in 2001-02, earned back his fourth year of eligibility this season per NCAA guidelines. He enters the season with 1,556 points and is on pace to become UIC's all-time leading scorer.

McCants, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, was named to the First Team last season in his first year at UW-Milwaukee after ranking fourth in the Horizon League with 17.1 points per game. McCants, who helped the Panthers reach the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, also led the League with 3.35 three-point field goals per game and ranked fourth with a 42.8 three-point percentage.

Williams, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, averaged a League-leading 1.94 steals and 5.8 rebounds per game on his way to being selected to the All-Defensive Team a year ago. He was second on the team with 11.5 points per game and shot 51 percent from the floor. In addition, he was named the Horizon League Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds as UIC claimed the tournament crown and automatic NCAA bid.

Westley led the Horizon League with 8.6 rebounds per game last season despite his slender 6-foot-7, 205-pound frame and also ranked eighth in the conference with 14.8 points per game. He also shot 48 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free-throw line for the undermanned Vikings last year.

Tucker, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior, is the only non-senior on the Preseason First Team. As a sophomore in his first season at UW-Milwaukee, he ranked third on the team but 10th in the League with 12.5 points per game in helping the Panthers to the regular-season title and berth in the NIT.

Morris, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, averaged a team-leading 10.9 points and 1.6 steals per game on his way to second-team accolades last season. Covile, a 6-foot-9 junior center, was selected to the All-Defensive Team after leading the Horizon League in field-goal percentage (64 percent) and ranking third with 1.3 blocked shots per game. Sheets, a 6-foot junior guard, averaged 11.0 points per game and ranked among the League leaders with 1.6 three-point field goals per game. Mendiburu, a 6-foot-5 guard, finished among the conference top 10 in assists (4.6 apg) and steals (1.6 spg) while averaging 8.5 points per outing. Wood, a 6-foot sophomore, was the only freshman on the All-Newcomer Team a year ago after averaging 8.7 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.

The 2004-05 Horizon League men's basketball regular season will tip-off Nov. 16 when Wright State plays at the University of Tulsa in the first round of the Preseason NIT. The first League game will take place Dec. 4 when the top two preseason picks, UW-Milwaukee and UIC, meet in Chicago.

The 2005 Horizon League Tournament will begin with first-round games March 1 at campus sites, followed by the second round and semifinals on March 4 and 5, respectively, at the No. 1 seed. The championship game will be played March 8 at the higher seed of the two finalists and be televised live on ESPN.

2004-05 Horizon League Men's Basketball Preseason PollSchool (First-Place Votes)Pts.2003-04 Record1.UW-Milwaukee (19)30820-11 / 13-32.UIC (11)30624-8 / 12-43.UW-Green Bay (5)23317-11 / 11-54.Detroit (1)23019-11 / 10-65.Butler (1)21616-14 / 8-86.Wright State (1)16914-14 / 10-67.Cleveland State984-25 / 0-168.Loyola819-20 / 4-129.Youngstown State698-20 / 4-12

2004-05 Horizon League Men's Basketball Preseason TeamsFirst TeamNameSchoolYearPos.Ht.Wt.Hometown2003-04 StatisticsCedrick Banks*UICSeniorGuard6-2165Chicago, Ill.18.4 ppg, 43.1% 3-pt.Ed McCantsUW-MilwaukeeSeniorGuard6-3195Marion, Ohio17.1 ppg, 42.8% 3-pt.Armond WilliamsUICSeniorForward6-4205Hillside, Ill.11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpgOmari WestleyCleveland StateSeniorForward6-7205Cleveland, Ohio14.8 ppg, 8.6 apgJoah TuckerUW-MilwaukeeJuniorForward6-5220Milwaukee, Wis.12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpgSecond TeamNameSchoolYearPos.Ht.Wt.Hometown2003-04 StatisticsBrandon MorrisUW-Green BaySeniorGuard6-1180Kenosha, Wis.10.9 ppg, 4.9 rpgRyvon CovileDetroitJuniorCenter6-9230Detroit, Mich.8.1 ppg, 63.7% FGAvery SheetsButlerJuniorGuard6-0175Lafayette, Ind.11.0 ppg, 2.4 apgJavier MendiburuUW-Green BaySeniorGuard6-5220Badalona, Spain8.5 ppg, 4.6 apgDaShaun WoodWright StateSoph.Guard6-0180Detroit, Mich.8.7 ppg, 3.1 apg* Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year

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