Northern Kentucky University’s Drew McDonald was named the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year for the second-straight year, highlighting the all-league first team, while Jalen Tate was an all-league second-team honoree. The Norse were picked to finish second in the preseason poll.
McDonald is a two-time All-Horizon League First Team member, earning the honor following his sophomore and junior campaigns. He also repeats as the league’s preseason player of the year. Last season, the native of Cold Spring, Kentucky, led the league and finished 11th in the nation with 18 double-doubles while averaging 17.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. McDonald is moving up NKU’s annals as well, ranking 11th all-time with 1,431 points and fifth with 762 rebounds.
A native of Pickerington, Ohio, Tate has already become one of the league’s top defenders after garnering Horizon League All-Defensive Team accolades in a freshman season that saw him collect all-freshman team honors as well. Tate averaged 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Northern Kentucky earned 10 first-place votes and 356 points en route to being selected second in the preseason poll, as voted on by the head coaches, athletic communications personnel and media members. The Norse trailed league favorite Wright State, which garnered 25 first-place votes and 377 points.
UIC was selected third with 310 points, while Oakland (239) edged Green Bay (238) by a single point for fourth and fifth, respectively. IUPUI was slated sixth, Cleveland State seventh and Milwaukee eighth. Youngstown State and Detroit Mercy rounded out the field and ninth and 10th, respectively.
Mid-Major Madness has also released its preseason prospectus, selecting McDonald as the Horizon League preseason player of the year, citing his increase in scoring output each year of his college career and rebounding acumen. Graduate transfer Zaynah Robinson garnered a nod on the publication’s second team following a junior campaign at Norfolk State where he averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
NKU was also picked to finish second by Mid-Major Madness.
The Norse are 30-10 against Horizon League foes the last two seasons, the best mark of any team in the conference. NKU has gone 45-22 with a Horizon League Tournament Championship and NCAA appearance in 2017 and 2018 league regular-season title and NIT appearance on its resume over the last two years.
2018-19 #HLMBB Preseason Poll Results
Pl. School (1st-place) – Votes
1. Wright State (25) – 377
2. Northern Kentucky (10) – 356
3. UIC (4) – 310
4. Oakland – 239
5. Green Bay – 238
6. IUPUI – 188
7. Cleveland State – 175
8. Milwaukee (1) – 140
9. Youngstown State – 104
10. Detroit Mercy – 73
Preseason Player of the Year
Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky
First Team (alphabetical order by school)
Tyree Appleby, Cleveland State
Sandy Cohen III, Green Bay
Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky
Marcus Ottey, UIC
Loudon Love, Wright State
Second Team (alphabetical order by school)
Kameron Hankerson, Green Bay
Jalen Tate, Northern Kentucky
Tarkus Ferguson, UIC
Mark Hughes, Wright State
Naz Bohannon, Youngstown State
Bryan McEldowneyAssistant Athletic DirectorCommunications and Media ServicesNorthern Kentucky University