INDIANAPOLIS – Reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Matt Howard of Butler University headlines the 2009-10 preseason All-League men’s basketball teams, which were announced Wednesday (Oct. 21).
Howard, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior forward, was voted the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year as the top vote-getter in balloting by the League’s head coaches, sports information directors and media members. He enters the season as the League’s leading returning scorer (14.8 ppg) and second-leading returning rebounder (6.8 ppg).
Last season Howard became the first non-senior to be selected the player of the year since Rashad Phillips of the University of Detroit Mercy won his first of two awards as a junior in 1999-2000 and the first sophomore to be so honored since Parrish Casebier of the University of Evansville in 1991-92.
Joining Howard on the preseason All-League first team are Butler teammate and sophomore swingman Gordon Hayward (13.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg in 2008-09), junior guard Norris Cole (13.3 ppg) of defending champion Cleveland State University, and another pair of teammates in senior guard Todd Brown (11.7 ppg) and junior guard Vaughn Duggins (11.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg in four games) of Wright State University.
Hayward was named the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Year and earned a spot on the All-League First Team as a freshman last season, while Brown was a second-team pick. Cole was named to the League’s All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.5 points in Cleveland State’s four-game run to the tournament title. Vaughn earned first-team All-League honors as a sophomore in 2007-08 before being limited to only four games last season due to a broken finger.
The preseason All-League second team features University of Wisconsin-Green Bay teammates Troy Cotton (12.6 ppg) and Rahmon Fletcher (10.8 ppg, 4.5 apg), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee teammates Tone Boyle (13.2 ppg) and James Eayrs (11.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg), and Butler sophomore guard Shelvin Mack (11.9 ppg, 3.5 apg).
Boyle and Fletcher were second-team All-League picks last season, while Mack joined Boyle, Eayrs and Hayward on the All-Newcomer Team.
The regular season will begin Nov. 11 when Detroit plays at the University of California in the Coaches v. Cancer tournament at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The League schedule will tip off with four games on Dec. 3, including Cleveland State at Wright State, also on ESPNU.
The 2010 Speedway Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship is scheduled for March 2, 6-7 and 9. The regular-season champion will host the second round and semifinals, with the higher remaining seed hosting the championship game live on ESPN as part of “Championship Week.”
The following are the complete 2009-10 preseason All-Horizon League men’s basketball teams.
First Team School Year Height Weight PPG
Matt Howard, F Butler Jr. 6-8 230 14.8
Gordon Hayward, F/G Butler So. 6-9 207 13.1
Norris Cole, G Cleveland State Jr. 6-2 170 13.3
Todd Brown, G Wright State Sr. 6-5 210 11.7
Vaughn Duggins, G Wright State Jr. 6-3 195 11.8
Second Team School Year Height Weight PPG
Rahmon Fletcher, G Green Bay Jr. 5-10 165 10.8
Shelvin Mack, G Butler So. 6-3 215 11.9
Tone Boyle, G Milwaukee Sr. 6-2 175 13.2
Troy Cotton, G Green Bay Sr. 6-1 180 12.6
James Eayrs, F Milwaukee Sr. 6-7 310 11.2
Preseason Player of the Year: Matt Howard, Butler