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Men's basketball picked fifth by OVC Media; Women picked ninth

Men’s basketball picked fifth by OVC Media; Women picked ninth

Posted on 20 October 2017 by admin

For the fourth year in a row, the Ohio Valley Conference has conducted a Preseason Men’s and Women’s Media Poll prior to the start of the season. In total 12 voters from around the league cast a ballot on whom they thought would be the 2017-18 basketball favorites and preseason players of the year.

The OVC will release its preseason poll and All-OVC team, as voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors, on Tuesday, October 24 during the league’s annual Media Day in Evansville.

The media panel picked the Belmont men’s and women’s teams as the preseason favorites. Murray State senior guard Jonathan Stark was tabbed the OVC Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year while Murray State senior forward Ke’Shunan James was named OVC Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year.

In the men’s voting, defending regular season champion Belmont picked up eight of the 13 first-place votes and 148 total points in being picked the preseason favorite. Murray State picked up one first-place vote and 138 points to be picked second while defending OVC Tournament champion Jacksonville State received two first-place votes and 132 points in being tabbed third. Tennessee State (95 points) and Eastern Kentucky (91) also picked up first-place votes in being selected fourth and fifth. The poll was rounded out by UT Martin (82), Tennessee Tech (80), Eastern Illinois (79), Morehead State (59), Austin Peay (48), Southeast Missouri (36) and SIUE (26).

In women’s voting, it was two-time defending OVC Tournament champion Belmont who picked up 12 of the 13 first-place votes and 155 points in being tabbed an overwhelming favorite. UT Martin picked up the other first-place vote and 125 points in being picked second while Morehead State was third (119) and SIUE fourth (109). The poll was rounded out by Murray State (96), Austin Peay (91), Tennessee Tech (71), Southeast Missouri (66), Eastern Kentucky (57), Jacksonville State (55), Tennessee State (40) and Eastern Illinois (30).

Pollsters for the 2017-18 OVC Media Poll included: Catlin Bogard, OVC Ball; Mike Bradd, Eastern Illinois Radio; Neal Bradley, Murray State Radio; Rob Calhoun, Eastern Illinois Radio; Edward Marlowe, Paducah Sun; Mike Organ, The Tennessean; Justin Rust, Journal Gazette/Times-Courier; Harry Schroeder,; Greg Stotelmyer, Eastern Kentucky Sports Network.

2017-18 Media OVC Preseason Men’s Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (8 first-place votes) – 148 points
2. Murray State (1) – 138
3. Jacksonville State (2) – 132
4. Tennessee State (1) – 95
5. Eastern Kentucky (1) – 91
6. UT Martin – 82
7. Tennessee Tech – 80
8. Eastern Illinois – 79
9. Morehead State – 59
10. Austin Peay – 48
11. Southeast Missouri – 36
12. SIUE – 26

Preseason Player of the Year: Jonathan Stark, Murray State

2017-18 Media OVC Preseason Women’s Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (12 first-place votes) – 155 points
2. UT Martin (1) – 125
3. Morehead State – 119
4. SIUE – 109
5. Murray State – 96
6. Austin Peay – 91
7. Tennessee Tech – 71
8. Southeast Missouri – 66
9. Eastern Kentucky – 57
10. Jacksonville State – 55
11. Tennessee State – 40
12. Eastern Illinois – 30

Preseason Player of the Year: Ke’Shunan James, Murray State

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Mayo One of 20 Players Named to Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Watch List

Mayo One of 20 Players Named to Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Watch List

Posted on 19 October 2017 by admin

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Eastern Kentucky University junior Nick Mayo was one of 20 players named to the 2018 Karl Malone Award Watch List on Thursday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced. The award is given annually to the top power forward in Division I men’s college basketball.

Mayo is the only Ohio Valley Conference player and one of only five mid-major players on the list.

He is surrounded by high-profile names such as Marvin Bagley III (Duke), Wendell Carter, Jr. (Duke), PJ Washington (Kentucky) and Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame).

Mayo was voted first team All-OVC for the second straight year in 2016-17 after finishing the regular season ranked among the OVC’s leaders in scoring (fifth / 18.5 points-per-game), rebounding (12th / 6.5 rebounds-per-game), assists (15th / 2.8 assists-per-game), blocks (third / 1.4 blocks-per-game), field goal percentage (12th / 50.4%), three-point field goal percentage (12th / 39.0%) and free throw percentage (14th / 77.4%).

The 6-9 forward from Oakland, Maine is on pace to be EKU’s all-time leading scorer after he became the first Colonel ever to reach the 1,000-point plateau as a sophomore.

The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook tabbed Mayo the Preseason OVC Player of the Year in late September.

A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the 20 candidates for the Karl Malone Award Watch List.

The award’s namesake, Karl Malone, attended Louisiana Tech University due to its close proximity to his hometown of Summerfield, Louisiana. He led the Bulldogs to a Sweet 16 appearance and earned All-Southland honors in his three seasons while averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Malone achieved great success during his 19 seasons in the NBA as a 14-time NBA All-Star (1988-98, 2000-02), 11-time All-NBA First Team player (1989-99) and a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He also won two Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996).

“With this award, we have been able to recognize some extraordinarily talented student-athletes in college basketball over the past three seasons,” said Karl Malone, a 2010 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “It is an honor to be associated with such an award and I hope the young men named to this watch list feel a sense of pride in being recognized for their efforts.”

By mid-February, the Watch List will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Malone and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Karl Malone Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, California on Friday, April 6.

Previous winners of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award include Johnathan Motley, Baylor (2017), Georges Niang, Iowa State (2016) and Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (2015). For more information on the 2018 Karl Malone Award, log onto

2018 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Candidates
Nana Foulland Bucknell
Gary Clark Jr. Cincinnati
Marvin Bagley III Duke
Wendell Carter Jr. Duke
Nick Mayo Eastern Kentucky
Yante Maten Georgia
Rokas Gustys Hofstra
PJ Washington Kentucky
Moritz Wagner Michigan
Jordan Murphy Minnesota
Alize Johnson Missouri St.
Bonzie Colson Notre Dame
Mike Daum South Dakota St.
Reid Travis Stanford
Obi Enechionyia Temple
Dylan Osetkowski Texas
Robert Williams Texas A&M
Zach Smith Texas Tech
William Lee UAB
Bennie Boatwright USC

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2017-18 season*

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Jeffrey Canady Chosen As Semifinalist For Prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy

Jeffrey Canady Chosen As Semifinalist For Prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy

Posted on 27 September 2017 by admin

RICHMOND, Ky. – Jeffrey Canady is a semifinalist for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced on Wednesday. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Canady is one of only two college football players in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be chosen as a semifinalist. He is one of only 37 semifinalists from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and one of only four from the Ohio Valley Conference.

From a list of 181 semifinalists, the NFF will announce 12-14 finalists for the trophy on Nov. 1. Each of the finalists will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. One of the finalist will be named the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5 in New York City, and his postgraduate scholarship will be increased to $25,000.

Each nominee must meet the highest of standards based on their performance in the classroom, on the field and as outstanding leaders and citizens in the community. The candidates come from all levels of play in the NCAA and the NAIA.

Canady is a redshirt senior linebacker from Barbourville, Kentucky. He accumulated a 3.63 grade-point-average while majoring in environmental health sciences as an undergraduate. Canady is currently pursuing a graduate degree in safety, security and emergency management. He was chosen to the 2016 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District® Football Team, chosen as the 2017 EKU College of Health Sciences Student of the Year (top student award in the entire college), is a three-time Colonel Scholar and a three-time Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll member. He is also a team captain and a member of the players staff team leadership group.

During his career, Canady has started 15 times, played in 38 games and has made 220 tackles. This year he has 28 tackles through three games, including 1.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss. He ranks fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference, and 47th in the nation, with 9.3 tackles per game. In 2016, Canady led the team, was second in the OVC and seventh in the nation with 123 tackles (11.2 tackles per game). He had 10 or more tackles in a game seven times and posted a season-best 17 tackles at Tennessee Tech (Oct. 1) and against Murray State (Nov. 5). That total tied for the 18th most in a single game in FCS football in 2016.

In addition to his success on the field and in the classroom, Canady has been involved in many community service projects. He has worked with the teen center as a role model for kids from various backgrounds, spending time with them and showing them that people care. He has also worked with the Colonels Cupboard (collects food for less fortunate students), Special Olympics Flag Football (worked with children with various special needs and helped with basic fundamentals of football), Move In Day (helped students move their belongings into university dorms), EKU Fan Day (participated in clinics for kids), National Roll Call, Jock N Roll (student-athlete organized fundraiser that sends a military veteran and his or her family to the OVC Basketball Tournament in Nashville), reading to elementary kids and cleaning up campus.

In addition to his community service, Canady participated in an internship and a part time job related to his field that also help keep people safe and healthy. While working with the Knox County Health Department, Canady conducted food inspections with supervision and observed how onsite sewage inspections are administered. During this past summer, he worked as a part time safety technician with the University of Kentucky Environmental Health and Safety department. His main responsibility was inspecting fume hoods in chemical labs throughout the campus and UK Hospital. He also inspected room pressure and reported maintenance issues. In addition, he played a major role in the ergonomics department which falls under the direction of UK EHS.

The William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit to learn more.

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. Learn more at

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Grace Chosen As National Defensive Player Of The Week

Grace Chosen As National Defensive Player Of The Week

Posted on 26 September 2017 by admin

RICHMOND, Ky. – Safety Kobie Grace was chosen as the STATS National Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Teammate Keith Wrzuszczak earned honorable mention recognition for National Special Teams Player of the Week by STATS.

Both players excelled in the Colonels’ 24-21 victory over Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

Grace was a difference maker for the Colonels in the close win. The senior finished with seven tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumbles recovered. He forced and recovered a fumble on TTU’s first possession of the game and the Colonels turned it into three points, which would be the final margin in the game. With Eastern leading by 10, the Winter Park, Florida native intercepted a pass at the EKU 19 on the first play of the fourth quarter to stop a Tech drive. The offense then drove for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

Grace is the first Colonel to earn STATS National Defensive Player of the Week since Stanley Absanon on Sept. 7, 2014.

Wrzuszczak punted the ball nine times for an average of 48.1 yards per punt. The senior boomed a career-best 76-yard punt and had three of 50 or more yards. On a series of three punts in the first half, the Geelong, Australia native pinned TTU at the four, seven and 15 yard lines. Seven of his nine punts led to Tech starting a drive 70 or more yards away from the end zone.

EKU takes to the road on Saturday to play at Southeast Missouri State University (0-4, 0-1 OVC). Kickoff in Cape Girardeau is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

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Canady picks up two weekly honors for game against UK

Canady picks up two weekly honors for game against UK

Posted on 10 September 2017 by admin

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Linebacker Jeffrey Canady was chosen as the adidas® Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday.

Canady also picked up Madness Ohio Valley Defensive Player of the Week honors from College Sports Madness.

The Barbourville, Kentucky native and his teammates nearly upset the University of Kentucky on Saturday, leading the Wildcats for nearly three quarters of play and trailing by eight with the ball with just over four minutes left in the game.

Canady finished with 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks for a loss of 11 yards against Kentucky. His 1.5 sacks in that game are the most by an OVC player this year against a Power 5 conference opponent.

Canady’s solo sack came on a 3rd-and-8 play on UK’s first possession of the second quarter with Eastern leading 7-3. The Wildcats were forced to punt and the Colonel offense answered with a touchdown to go up 13-3. With UK trying to answer that score and get back in the game, Canady teamed with Luder Jean Louis for another third down sack that forced Kentucky to punt again, keeping momentum in Eastern’s corner.

Through two games this season, both against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, Canady has 19 total tackles. The redshirt senior ranks fifth in the OVC and 49th nationally with an average of 9.5 tackles per game. Canady is tied for seventh in the league with 0.75 sacks per game.

The Eastern Kentucky University football program has won two national championships, 21 conference titles and has made 21 playoff appearances. No other Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team has won at least two FCS national titles and 20 or more conference championships.

The Colonels will have a week off of game action before beginning conference play at home on Sept. 23 against Tennessee Tech. Kickoff at Roy Kidd Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m. For ticket information, contact the EKU Athletics Ticket Office at 844-3-GOBIGE.

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Two Colonels picked Preseason All-OVC; Colonels picked to finish 5th

Two Colonels picked Preseason All-OVC; Colonels picked to finish 5th

Posted on 24 July 2017 by admin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Colonels were selected to the 2017 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference football team. Defensive end Aaron Patrick and punter Keith Wrzuszczak earned preseason all-conference honors.

Last season, Patrick was a first team All-OVC honoree. He was also selected to the 2016 Hero Sports Sophomore All-America first team. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound Dayton, Ohio native was second in the OVC, and 42nd in the nation, with an average of 0.64 sacks per game. He led the team with seven sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. He also had 10 quarterback hurries, one pass break-up and one forced fumble. Patrick finished eighth in the OVC with an average of 0.91 tackles for a loss per game.

He had eight tackles and 2.5 sacks at Tennessee Tech (Oct. 1). He finished with a season-best nine tackles at Ball State (Sept. 17) and against No. 2 Jacksonville State (Oct. 22).

Wrzuszczak was a second team All-OVC selection after last season. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Geelong, Victoria, Australia native ranked third in the conference and 17th in the nation in punt average. He averaged 42.1 yards on 59 punts while placing 28 punts inside the 20 yard line. He had seven punts of 50 or more yards. Wrzuszczak’s directional skill helped EKU lead the OVC in net punting (41.19 ypp) and punt return defense (2.50 ypp). The Colonels ranked third and fourth in the nation, respectively, in those two categories.

He placed four punts inside the 20 yard line at Ball State (Sept. 17). He averaged 48 yards per punt at Tennessee State (Oct. 15). Wrzuszcak averaged 47.3 yards on seven punts at Tennessee-Martin (Oct. 29) while placing three inside the 20 yard line and booming a season-best 63-yarder.

The Eastern Kentucky University football program has won two national championships, 21 conference titles and has made 21 playoff appearances. No other Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team has won at least two FCS national titles and 20 or more conference championships.

The Colonels will open their 2017 season at Western Kentucky on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. ET. Eastern’s first home game is slated for Sept. 23 against Tennessee Tech. For season ticket information, contact the EKU Athletics Ticket Office at 844-3-GOBIGE.

EKU was picked to place fifth in the OVC this season in a preseason poll of league head coaches and communications directors.

Jacksonville State (128) received all 16 possible first-place votes and was chosen as the preseason favorite to win the league. Tennessee-Martin (107) was picked second and Tennessee State (96) third. Eastern Illinois had 81 points and was fourth in the poll.

EKU garnered 68 points in the preseason poll, four more than sixth place Tennessee Tech (64). Southeast Missouri (42) edged Murray State (41) for seventh. Austin Peay (21) rounded out the poll in eighth.

2017 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Football Team

(Selected by OVC Head Football Coaches and Sports Information Directors)

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Smith (WR), Tennessee State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Jackson (DL), Jacksonville State

QBTroy CookUT MartinSr.
RBRoc ThomasJacksonville StateSr.
RBJaimiee BoweUT MartinJr.
RBYeedee ThaenratTennessee TechSo.
WRPatrick SmithTennessee StateSr.
WRJordon GandyMurray StateSr.
TEAddison BoundsEastern IllinoisSr.
CThomas BurtonTennessee StateJr.
OGJustin LeaJacksonville StateSr.
OGRobert BurleighUT MartinSr.
OTDylan ClineJacksonville StateJr.
OTKadarren BondUT MartinSr.
DLDarius JacksonJacksonville StateSr.
DLEbenezer OgundekoTennessee StateSr.
DLAaron PatrickEastern KentuckyJr.
DLRandy RobinsonJacksonville StateJr.
LBSiran NealJacksonville StateSr.
LBJoel McCandlessJacksonville StateSr.
LBChad MeredithSoutheast MissouriSr.
DBMarlon BridgesJacksonville StateSo.
DBKahlid HagensUT MartinSr.
DBReggie HallJacksonville StateSr.
DBD'Montre WadeMurray StateSr.
DBTae MartinUT MartinSr.
KLane ClarkTennessee StateSr.
PKeith WrzuszczakEastern KentuckySr.
RSCameron SandersSoutheast MissouriJr.
RSChris RowlandTennessee StateSo.

2017 OVC Football Predicted Order of Finish

(Selected by OVC Head Football Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
Order of FinishTeamPoints
1Jacksonville State128 (16)
2UT Martin107 (2)
3Tennessee State96
4Eastern Illinois81
5Eastern Kentucky68
6Tennessee Tech64
7Southeast Missouri42
8Murray State41
9Austin Peay21

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2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to be Held at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana

2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to be Held at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana

Posted on 16 February 2017 by admin

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents have awarded the 2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

The date of the 2018 OVC Basketball Championship is February 28 – March 3, 2018.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take our flagship championship to another region of the OVC footprint,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “We look forward to the opportunity to partner with the City of Evansville and the Evansville Sports Corporation to provide an outstanding experience for our student-athletes and fans.

“I additionally want to thank the OVC Board of Presidents for their time and thoughtful approach in reaching this decision,” DeBauche added.

“I look forward to the OVC Championship being played in Evansville and at the Ford Center,” said Murray State President Dr. Robert O. Davies, who is the chair of the OVC Board of Presidents. “This facility is the ideal place to showcase our Conference and will be a memorable experience for our student-athletes. I also look forward to the emerging partnership with community of Evansville and know this will be an exciting event for the participants and spectators.”

The Ford Center, which opened in 2011, is a 10,000-seat arena located in the core of Evansville’s downtown district. The 290,000-square foot facility serves as home of the University of Evansville’s men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the Evansville Thunderbolts of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Ford Center has serves as host to numerous sporting events and concerts on an annual basis.

“Evansville is a basketball town and we could not be more excited to partner with the Ohio Valley Conference to deliver a championship atmosphere for OVC student-athletes and fans alike,” said Jason Sands, Executive Director of the Evansville Sports Corporation.

Evansville is the third-largest city in the state of Indiana with a population of nearly 120,000 in the city limit and 300,000 people in the metropolitan area.

“Our city has demonstrated on multiple occasions the ability to host great sporting events at every level,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “We gladly welcome the Ohio Valley Conference and look forward to showing their student-athletes the best experience possible,” he continued.

The OVC Basketball Tournament is the fourth-oldest Division I Championship in the country; it will be held for the 54th time overall on March 1-4, 2017 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. That will mark the 23rd time in the past 24 years the event has taken place in Nashville. The last OVC Basketball Tournament held outside of Nashville took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. The OVC will also partner with the Nashville Sports Council to serve as hosts of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at Bridgestone Arena in 2018 (March 16-18).

During the 2017-18 academic year, the OVC Board of Presidents will consider future tournament site locations.

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