Avgi Named Men's Basketball Preseason Player Of The Year
Avgi was the 2014-15 GNAC Player of the Year after leading the Wolves to the league's regular season championship.
Avgi was the 2014-15 GNAC Player of the Year after leading the Wolves to the league's regular season championship.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Sporting News Preseason All-American, Division II Bulletin Super 16 and now the GNAC Preseason Player of the Year.

Western Oregon forward Andy Avgi, the defending GNAC Player of the Year, added another award to his preseason arsenal as he was selected by the league’s head coaches as the GNAC Preseason Player of the Year. The senior was a unanimous selection for the honor, receiving 10 first place votes in the balloting (coaches could not vote for their own players).

Avgi was one of eight unanimous selections to the squad and is the only player on the list to be selected for a third year in a row. Joining him as a repeat selection on the 15-man squad were Western Washington forward Jeffrey Parker, WWU guard Ricardo Maxwell, Alaska Anchorage guard Brian McGill and Alaska guard Joe Slocum.

Other unanimous selections to the team include Parker, Maxwell, McGill, Western Oregon guard Julian Nichols, Seattle Pacific forward Mitch Penner, Montana State Billings guard/forward Momir Gataric and Central Washington center Joseph Stroud.

Avgi guided the Wolves to the GNAC regular season championship and their first trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The league’s top returning scorer, Avgi averaged 18.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a junior while shooting 61.2 percent from the field and 80.8 percent from the free throw line.

Nichols, a First Team All-GNAC selection and the conference’s Newcomer of the Year, averaged 12.5 points per game. He led the conference with 174 total assists and was second in the league with 5.8 assists per game. In addition, Nichols finished ninth in Division II with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.10.

Parker finished second in the balloting as Western Washington was picked first in last week’s men’s basketball preseason poll. A skilled player from both the inside and the outside, Parker averaged 15.6 points per game, sixth in the GNAC, and shot 50.7 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from three-point range. Maxwell, a Second Team All-GNAC selection last year, finished seventh in scoring with 15 points per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the field.

Penner helped lead Seattle Pacific to their 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament and a GNAC Tournament title. The senior is expected to anchor the Falcons’ front court after he averaged 13.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to earn Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection.

Gataric is Montana State Billings’ top returning scorer, contributing 11.6 points per game while shooting an impressive 51.6 percent from the field. Central Washington’s Stroud led Division II in field goal shooting, connecting on 70.5 percent of his shots (129-183). A Second Team All-GNAC pick, Stroud averaged 12.1 points per game and was ninth in Division II with 2.65 blocked shots per game.

McGill earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection as a junior for Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves’ top returning scorer, McGill averaged 13.8 points and 5.3 assists per game (third in the GNAC) while shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range and 79.4 percent from the free throw line.

Alaska is represented by Slocum, senior guard Ashton Edwards and junior center Almir Haczisehovic. A redshirt for the Nanooks last year, Slocum averaged 10.4 points per game in 2013-14 and shot 74.7 percent from the free throw line. Edwards, an Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection last year, led Alaska with an average of 14.2 points per game and led the league in free throw shooting, averaging 91.3 percent (63-69). Hadzisehovic performed well in his first GNAC season, averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and shot 56.8 percent from the field.

Sophomore guard Trey Ingram and junior guard Tyler Copp represent Saint Martin’s. Ingram is the only underclassman named to the preseason all-conference team after he led the Saints in scoring as a freshman with 11.2 points per game. He excelled from outside, shooting 41.6 percent from three-point range. Copp started 16 games as a sophomore, averaging 7.5 points per contest.

A pair of Division I transfers, Alaska Anchorage junior guard Sekou Wiggs and Seattle Pacific senior center Gilles Dierickx, are the two newcomers named to the squad. Wiggs was third in scoring last season for Idaho, averaging 11.5 points per game. He appeared in 61 games in two seasons for the Vandals. Dierickx played two seasons at Washington, appearing in 14 games and starting three last year after missing the first 12 games of the season with an injury.

Exhibiton play in the GNAC begins on Sat., Oct. 24, with Simon Fraser hosting Canadian rival Thompson Rivers. Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington will open the 2015-16 in earnest on Fri., Oct. 30, with both teams competing at the D2 CCA Tip-Off Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Conference play begins on Tues., Dec. 1, with Concordia hosting Western Oregon.

Preseason Player Of The Year: Andy Avgi, Western Oregon
Name School Pos. Ht. Year Hometown
*Andy Avgi Western Oregon F 6-6 Sr. Woodburn, Ore.
*Jeffrey Parker Western Washington F 6-6 Jr. Richmond, Calif.
*Julian Nichols Western Oregon G 6-2 Sr. Upland, Calif.
*Mitch Penner Seattle Pacific F 6-5 Sr. Seattle, Wash.
*Momir Gataric Montana State Billings G/F 6-5 Sr. Sunnyvale, Calif.
*Ricardo Maxwell Western Washington G 5-10 Sr. Cincinnati, Ohio
*Joseph Stroud Central Washington C 6-8 Sr. Seattle, Wash.
*Brian McGill Alaska Anchorage G 6-2 Sr. Clackamas, Ore.
+Sekou Wiggs Alaska Anchorage G 6-4 Jr. Seattle, Wash.
Ashton Edwards Alaska G 6-1 Sr. Compton, Calif.
+Gilles Dierickx Seattle Pacific C 7-0 Sr. Ghent, Belgium
Almir Haczisehovic Alaska C 6-8 Jr. Belgrade, Serbia
Joe Slocum Alaska G 6-3 Sr. San Francisco, Calif.
Trey Ingram Saint Martin's G 6-1 So. Scottsdale, Ariz.
Tyler Copp Saint Martin's G 6-0 Jr. Camas, Wash.

* - denotes unanimous selection   + - denotes conference newcomer

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