My MW preseason ballot; Broncos earn praise; Drmic talks defense

The Mountain West preseason rankings, all-conference teams and individual awards will be announced Tuesday. I was asked to be one of the voters this season, and I posted my ballot below.

With the most coming back, I think Boise State certainly will be a conference title contender, but despite losing a player like Tony Snell and its head coach, New Mexico is still the team to beat. UNLV lost quite a bit of talent, but I think there’s a ton of talent still there. I picked Kendall Williams to be MW player of the year after last season, so no reason to change that since I think with Snell gone, he’ll have an even bigger role. Four of my all-conference picks were easy, with the two from Boise State and two from New Mexico. I considered UNM’s Cameron Bairstow for my fifth spot, and I love watching him play, but I think Burton is an excellent all-around guard, even on a team that won’t be very good.

MY BALLOT
Predicted order of finish

1. New Mexico
2. Boise State
3. UNLV
4. Utah State
5. San Diego State
6. Wyoming
7. Fresno State
8. Colorado State
9. Nevada
10. Air Force
11. San Jose State
Player of the year: Kendall Williams, New Mexico, Sr.
All-conference: Kendall Williams, New Mexico, Sr.
Anthony Drmic, Boise State, Jr.
Derrick Marks, Boise State, Jr.
Alex Kirk, New Mexico, Jr.
Deonte Burton, Nevada, Sr.
Newcomer of the year: Josh Davis, San Diego State, Sr.
Freshman of the year: Kendall Smith, UNLV

CBSSports.com posted predictions from six of its experts on order of finish in most of college basketball’s conferences, and two have Boise State winning the Mountain West.
As you see below, Jeff Borzello and Gary Parrish have the Broncos No. 1, with Matt Norlander having them second, Jerry Palm and Jon Rothstein place them third and Doug Gottlieb has them fourth.
CBS rankings MW

Yahoo’s The Dagger has the Broncos as one of 10 teams to watch outside of its preseason top 25. Take a look here.

The Broncos also got some strong praise from Lindy’s in its college basketball preview, which has a cameo from Derrick Marks on one of its regional covers (see below).
Among the notable tidbits, the magazine has Boise State ranked 38th nationally and predicts the Broncos will finish third in the MW. Anthony Drmic is pegged as the conference’s top shooter.

Drmic is ranked as the nation’s No. 18 small forward, with Lindy’s saying he is “next of the Aussies to be a U.S. college standout.” Marks is ranked as the No. 21 point guard, and the magazine says “a reason the Broncos could surprise a whole lot of folks.” Coach Leon Rice is one of four coaches dubbed as a possible “next sensation,” along with Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew, Towson’s Pat Skerry and Louisiana Tech’s Michael White.
Marks Lindy's

ESPN.com had a lot of new content Wednesday on the Broncos, including a feature on Derrick Marks by Myron Medcalf (here) and a trio of ESPN writers weighed in on how much they believe in the Broncos (here).

I wrote about Drmic in today’s Statesman, which you can read here.

Lots of good stuff from the junior Aussie in that interview, and so much that I wasn’t able to fit it all in.

Drmic also spoke about the defensive efforts for the team, and himself. Here is what he said:

Speaking about the defense, he noted that the team stressed rebounding last year, and averaged 4.3 more rebounds per game than its opponents.

“Anything we’ve focused on, we’ve got better at. I think if we put our mind to this defensive thing as a team … there’s no limit to what the team can do.”

Drmic on the 80-71 loss to La Salle in the NCAA tournament:

“I’ve watched that 20 times. My sister recorded it back home, so I got to watch that a lot, which I didn’t want to, but I did watch it over and over again.”

On what that game showed him:

“Watching the La Salle game, people were getting by me. The quicker guards were getting by me … I’ve got to be quicker on defense.”

On seeing teams like New Mexico win with defense:

“They’ll have games where they don’t score, but they’ll still win the game with defense. We know that’s what we need to do, that’s the bottom line.”

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