RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) — The Eastern Kentucky men’s basketball team brought back most of its scoring and production from last year’s team, which has resulted in some recognition by the ASUN conference.
The Colonels are picked to win the conference in both the preseason coaches poll and media poll, announced Monday at the ASUN Basketball Tipoff event for the conference’s Media Day. They received first place votes on 8 of 11 ballots on the coaches poll and 32 of 46 ballots on the media poll.
Devontae Blanton was also chosen as the ASUN preseason player of the year, with Isaiah Cozart joining him in the parade by being picked ASUN preseason defensive player of the year.
“There’s no pressure. To be honest, I really don’t really feed into much of it. I know they do work on show. Like the work that I put in, the work that we put in as a team. It’s all my show. And I just got. I just at the end, they. I know, I know the end goal while I won’t and that’s the ASUN championship and that’s the only thing I really worry about,” Blanton said.
A.W. Hamilton’s team went 23-14 last season and missed the NCAA tournament, but reached the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship game down in Florida back in March. The Colonels return 84% of their scoring and similar returns on other major categories.
“I think the players always decide the minutes. You know, I’m going to give you that cliche. You know, the players decide that. But it’s not, hey, you’re coming out because you take a bad shot. It’s hey, you’re coming out because you’re not sprinting back on transition defense. You’re not crashing the offensive glass. You’re not hitting your box out. You know, it’s those things that we get to hold them accountable for. With so much depth that we have,” Hamilton said.
The EKU women’s team is picked to finish 3rd in both preseason polls, with star Antwainette Walker named the ASUN preseason player of the year as well. Alice Recanati joins Walker on the preseason all-conference team.
Head coach Greg Todd is entering his 3rd year leading the program, increasing the win total each year from a 15-16 record in 2021-22 to a 18-14 record in 2022-23.
“Yeah, we’re excited about being third. We know the top of our league is very strong. But we had a good year last year. But we feel like we’re more talented. Team this year and hope that, you know, with, with once we get playing and get used to each other that we can have an outstanding year but certainly like where our program’s going,” Todd said.
The EKU men’s team gets the season started in an exhibition game at Georgia on October 30. The women’s team hosts an exhibition game against Transylvania, the defending D-II national champions, on November 7 at Baptist Health Arena.