And they also see a good season ahead for senior guard Kendall Williams and junior center Alex Kirk.
In the league’s preseason media poll released Tuesday morning at the Mountain West media conference, UNM received 23 of a possible 24 first place votes, easily the top vote getter to win the league’s regular season title, which would be a third consecutive outright or shared league title for the program.
UNM was picked to finish third in last year’s preseason poll before a 29-win season (13-3 in league play), clinching the Mountain West regular season title with two games remaining in the season.
Boise State and UNLV, which received the other first place vote, were tied for second in the poll followed by San Diego State at fourth.
League newcomer Utah State was picked fifth, followed by (in order), Colorado State, Wyoming, Fresno State, Nevada, Air Force and San Jose State.
The coaches of the Mountain West Conference do not participate in a preseason poll.
As for player awards, Williams, the 2013 MWC Player of the Year, was selected as the preseason player of the year. Teammate Alex Kirk joined Williams on the preseason All-Mountain West Conference team.
They are joined on the preseason all-league team by Boise State guard Derrick Marks, Boise State guard/forward Anthony Drmic, UNLV forward Khem Birch and Nevada guard Deonte Burton.
Newcomer of the Year is Josh Davis, a 6-foot-8 senior forward for San Diego State who transferred this offseason from Tulane, where he averaged a double-double (17.6 pts, 10.7 rebounds) and shot nearly 50 percent.
Freshman of the Year went to UNLV guard Kendall Smith.
Predicted order of finish
- With total points and first place votes in parenthesis:
1. New Mexico Lobos (23), 263
t2. Boise State Broncos, 214
t2. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (1), 214
4. San Diego State Aztecs, 212
5. Utah State Aggies, 156
6. Colorado State Rams, 142
7. Wyoming Cowboys, 112
8. Fresno State Bulldogs, 96
9. Nevada Wolf Pack, 84
10. Air Force Falcons, 61
11. San Jose State Spartans, 30
- G Kendall Williams, Sr., UNM
G Derrick Marks, Jr., Boise State
G Deonte Burton, Sr., Nevada
G/F Anthony Drmic, Jr., Boise State
F Khem Birch, Jr., UNLV
C Alex Kirk, Jr., UNM
- Player of the Year: Kendall Williams, Sr., UNM
Newcomer of the Year: Josh Davis, Sr., SDSU
Freshman of the Year: Kendall Smith, UNLV
To view Geoff Grammer’s preseason all-Mountain West Conference ballot (originally published in Sunday’s Journal), CLICK HERE.