NEW ORLEANS, La. - Senior guard Tony Hooper and senior forward Malcolm Thomas were named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team, released today by the conference office in conjunction with men's basketball media day. Both Hooper and Thomas were named to the third team.
Hooper's inclusion on the preseason all-conference team marks the third time in his career that he has earned the honor. The Houston, Texas-native was a preseason second team selection last season and a third team pick in 2007-08. Hooper played in just four games last season and was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA to return this season. In his last full season, 2007-08, Hooper averaged 15.4 points per game, seventh-best in the Sun Belt. In his career, Hooper has scored 1,275 points, ranking him 15th in ULM history.
Thomas earned Louisiana Newcomer of the Year honors last season from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association after transferring to ULM from Tyler JC. In his first season with the Warhawks, Thomas averaged a team-high 12.3 points per contest. Thomas was also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.8 boards per contest, and led the Warhawks in steals with 1.1 steals per game. The Karnack, Texas-native also ranked ninth in the Sun Belt in three-point field goal percentage last year (.400).
In addition to the preseason all-conference teams, the Sun Belt also announced the men's basketball preseason conference poll. ULM was picked to finish fifth in the West Division and is one of five schools in the division to receive at least one first-place vote. North Texas has been selected as the coaches' favorite to win the West, garnering 85 points and nine first place votes. Western Kentucky is the coaches' choice in the East, claiming 77 points and 12 first place votes.
The Sun Belt conference also released its 2009-10 men's basketball television schedule today; it features the Warhawks twice on the Sun Belt Network. ULM's first appearance on the network will be its Jan. 16 encounter with Denver at Fant-Ewing Coliseum, game time against the Pioneers is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Warhawks' second television date will also be a home contest, as the Sun Belt Network will broadcast ULM's regular season finale against North Texas on Feb. 27 at 1 p.m.
ULM will open the 2009-10 season with an exhibition game against UT-Tyler on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The Warhawks will open the regular season in Baton Rouge, La., against LSU on Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
2009 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
1. WKU - (12 first place votes) 77 points
2. Troy - (1 first place vote) 62 points
3. Middle Tennessee - 53 points
4. South Alabama - 40 points
5. Florida Atlantic - 21 points
6. FIU - 20 points
1. North Texas - (9 first place votes) 85 points
2. Denver - (1 first place vote) 73 points
3. Louisiana-Lafayette - (1 first place vote) 56 points
4. UALR - (1 first place vote) 53 points
5. ULM - (1 first place vote) 45 points
6. Arkansas State - 36 points
7. New Orleans - 17 points
2009 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball
Nate Rohnert, Denver
Desmond Yates, Middle Tennessee
Eric Tramiel, North Texas
Brandon Hazzard, Troy
A.J. Slaughter, WKU
Chris Gradnigo, Louisiana-Lafayette
Josh White, North Texas
Richard Delk, Troy
Sergio Kerusch, WKU
Steffphon Pettigrew, WKU
Donald Boone, Arkansas State
Tony Hooper, Louisiana-Monroe
Malcolm Thomas, Louisiana-Monroe
Michael Vogler, Troy
Jeremy Evans, WKU
Preseason Player of the Year -
AJ Slaughter, WKU