Western Oregon's Cranston Leads Men's Preseason Honors
Cameron Cranston averaged 18.3 points per game last season. He is one of two returning players that were in the GNAC top 10 in scoring.
Cameron Cranston averaged 18.3 points per game last season. He is one of two returning players that were in the GNAC top 10 in scoring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – One of the conference’s top two-way threats in 2021-22, Western Oregon senior guard Cameron Cranston leads the 15 players selected to the 2022-23 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team.

Cranston was named the Preseason Player of the Year after a season where he ranked among the conference’s leaders in scoring, three-point shooting, steals and blocked shots. He is one of two returning players that ranked in the GNAC’s top 10 in scoring last year, averaging 18.3 points per game.

Cranston finished fourth in the conference with 2.6 three-pointers made per game and seventh with a .432 three-point percentage, which also ranked 16th in Division II. Defensively, Cranston was second in the GNAC with 1.3 blocked shots per game and fifth with 1.6 steals per contest.

Five of the conference’s teams landed two players on the preseason squad. Preseason poll favorite Saint Martin’s landed junior guard Kyle Greeley and sophomore guard Jaden Nielsen-Skinner. Montana State Billings is represented by senior guard Carrington Wiggins and senior forward Zharon Richmond.

Northwest Nazarene landed sophomore guard Tru Allen and junior forward Gabriel Murphy while Seattle Pacific is represented by senior forward Shaw Anderson and junior guard Zach Paulsen. Western Washington also landed a pair of players in junior guard D’Angelo Minnis and senior guard Daniel Hornbuckle.

Rounding out the team is Alaska junior forward Abdullahi Mohamed, Alaska Anchorage senior guard Da’Zhon Wyche, Central Washington senior guard Matt Poquette and Simon Fraser junior guard David Penney.

Carrington joins Cranston on the list of top 10 scorers returning for the 2022-23 season. He finished sixth in the league at 17.2 points per game and was tied for eighth with two three-pointers made per game. Wiggins was solid both from the field and at the line, shooting 48.3% from the field and 78.9% at the charity stripe.

Richmond, meanwhile, is back with the Yellowjackets after a two-year absence. An Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection in 2019-20, Richmond averaged 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that season, ranking in the GNAC top 10 in both categories, and shot 40.6% from the field.

Greeley, a Second Team All-GNAC selection, was one of three Saint Martin’s players to average double-digit scoring last year at 13.3 points per game. The top returning three-point threat in the conference, Greeley ranked third with a .459 three-point percentage while shooting 52.3% from the field and just under 80% from the free-throw line.

Nielsen-Skinner earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors after averaging 7.5 points per game, connecting on 41.7% from three-point range. The conference leader in assists, Nielsen-Skinner finished the season ranked 17th in Division II with 5.4 assists per game and was 24th in Division II with a 2.58 assist/turnover ratio.

Allen was named the GNAC Freshman of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC distinction after he averaged 12.2 points per game. He shot 31.7% from three-point range and 75.6% from the free-throw line while starting 20 of 21 games for the Nighthawks.

Murphy also earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors after averaging 11.1 points per game. He finished fifth in the conference with 8.1 rebounds per game and was 27th in Division II with 3.2 offensive rebounds per contest. Murphy led the GNAC with a .591 field-goal percentage.

Anderson was an Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection for Seattle Pacific after averaging 13.8 points and four rebounds per game. He was one of the Falcons’ most consistent players and finished the season ranked eighth in the conference with 34.3 minutes played per game.

One of two returning SPU starters this season, Paulsen averaged 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year. His .485 field-goal percentage tied him for first among SPU players as he also connected on 87% from the free-throw line.

Minnis was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors after averaging 12.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game with 117 assists and 29 steals on the season. He ranked fourth in the conference with 4.5 assists per contest and was third with a .847 free-throw percentage.

Hornbuckle joined Minnis as an Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection for the Vikings. He averaged 13.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. One of the conference’s top three-point threats, Hornbuckle was second in the GNAC with three three-pointers made per game and sixth with a .435 three-point percentage.

Mohamed proved a key part of Alaska’s incredible run to the GNAC championship and the Division II West Region final. He averaged 11.1 points per game and ranked seventh in the conference with 6.8 rebounds per game. Mohamed was one of just three UAF players to play in all 29 of the team’s games.

Poquette was Central Washington’s primary presence on the blocks, averaging 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with 20 blocks. He ranked sixth in the GNAC with a .570 field-goal percentage while also shooting 73.4% from the free-throw line.

One of two returning starters for Simon Fraser, Penney started all 25 games while averaging 10 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He ranked third in the GNAC with 4.6 assists per game and shot 44.8% from the field and 79.4% from the free-throw line.

The only newcomer to make the Preseason All-Conference Team, Wyche transfers to Alaska Anchorage from Texas-Tyler, where he was the team’s second-leading scorer each of the last two years. He averaged 12.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last year and shot 84.1% from the free-throw line.

Preseason Player Of The Year: Cameron Cranston, Western Oregon

Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Cameron Cranston Western Oregon G 6-6 Sr. Vancouver, Wash. (Union)
* Carrington Wiggins Montana State Billings G 6-2 Sr. Flint, Mich. (Mott CC)
* Kyle Greeley Saint Martin’s G 6-5 Jr. Salem, Ore. (Portland State Univ.)
* Shaw Anderson Seattle Pacific F 6-6 Jr. Kelso, Wash. (Kelso)
* D’Angelo Minnis Western Washington G 5-10 Jr. Kent, Wash. (Kentwood)
* Abdullahi Mohamed Alaska F 6-8 Jr. Seattle, Wash.
(Eastern Washington Univ.)
* Tru Allen Northwest Nazarene G 6-0 So. Lapwai, Idaho (Clarkston)
* Matt Poquette Central Washington F 6-6 Sr. Morton, Wash. (Morton-White Pass)
* Gabriel Murphy Northwest Nazarene F 6-9 Jr. Tracy, Calif. (Modesto Christian)
* David Penney Simon Fraser G 6-1 Jr. Guelph, Ont. (Middleburg Academy)
Jaden Nielsen-Skinner Saint Martin’s G 5-10 So. Salem, Ore. (Portland State Univ.)
+ Da’Zhon Wyche Alaska Anchorage G 5-10 Sr. Anchorage, Alaska
(Univ. of Texas Tyler)
Zharon Richmond Montana State Billings F 6-7 Sr. Billings, Mont. (Skyview)
Daniel Hornbuckle Western Washington G 6-1 Sr. Fairbanks, Alaska (Portland CC)
Zack Paulsen Seattle Pacific G 6-4 So. University Place, Wash. (Curtis)

* - Unanimous Selection
+ - Conference Newcomer