COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
Wyoming's Larry Nance Jr. has been named the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year, as the conference announced its 2014-15 preseason media poll and all-conference team today. The Cowboys were picked to finish sixth as a team, garnering 256 points from the media covering the MW. Cowgirl Kayla Woodward was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year on the women's side, marking the first time in MW history Wyoming has earned both accolades.
"Preseason prognostications are a part of our culture, but hopefully our staff and our team are mature enough to focus on the moment," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Right now focusing on getting better each and every day is the most important thing."
Nance enters his senior season at Wyoming after a standout 2013-14 campaign that saw him earn All-MW First Team and All-Defensive Team, despite suffering a season-ending torn ACL on Feb. 18. At the time of his injury, he ranked 10th in the MW at 15.4 points per game, fifth with 8.6 rebounds, second at 54 percent from the field, sixth with 1.4 steals and fourth at 2.1 blocks. The forward led the Cowboys in each of those categories. Nance is the first Cowboy to be named to the preseason all-conference team since Brandon Ewing in 2008-09 and the first Cowboy to earn preseason player of the year since Ewing in 2007-08.
Defending Mountain West regular-season champion San Diego State is the overwhelming favorite to win the regular-season title again in 2014-15. The Aztecs received 34 of 35 first-place votes and 383 votes to garner the top spot in the poll. Boise State claimed the remaining first-place vote and 275 points for second place, while defending MW tournament champion New Mexico had 270 points to finish third. UNLV collected 269 points for fourth place, followed by Colorado State in fifth (258 points) and Wyoming in sixth. Rounding out the poll were Fresno State (232 points) in seventh, Nevada (126 points) in eighth, Air Force (102 points) in ninth, Utah State (98 points) in 10th and San Jose State (41 points) in 11th.
San Diego State's Angelo Chol was tabbed Preseason Newcomer of the Year and UNLV's Rashad Vaughn was Preseason Freshman of the Year. Nance was joined on the preseason All-MW team by Boise State's Anthony Drmic, Colorado State's Daniel Bejarano and San Diego State's Winston Shepard and Dwyane Polee II.
The Cowboys open the season, and the newly-renovated Arena-Auditorium, by hosting Northern Colorado on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. MT. Fans can purchase season tickets by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at GoWYO.com.
2014-15 MW Preseason Media Poll
Rk. Team (First-Place Votes) Pts.
1. San Diego State (34): 383
2. Boise State (1): 275
3. New Mexico: 270
4. UNLV: 269
5. Colorado State: 258
6. Wyoming: 256
7. Fresno State: 232
8. Nevada: 126
9. Air Force: 102
10. Utah State: 98
11. San Jose State: 41
Preseason All-Mountain West
Anthony Drmic, Sr., G/F, Boise State
Daniel Bejarano, Sr., G, Colorado State
Winston Shepard, Jr., F, San Diego State
Dwayne Polee II, Sr., F, San Diego State
Larry Nance Jr., Sr., F, Wyoming
Preseason Player of the Year
Larry Nance Jr., Sr., F, Wyoming
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Angelo Chol, Jr., F, San Diego State
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Rashad Vaughn, Fr., G, UNLV