ASU opens exhibition season against Ouachita Baptist

Setting the scene
Date: Nov. 4, 2010
Location: Jonesboro, Ark.
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. (CST)
Arena: Convocation Center
Arena Capacity: 10,727

JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Arkansas State kicks off its 2010-11 campaign when they battle Ouachita Baptist in exhibition action on Thursday night at the Convocation Center. ASU went 17-14 last season with an 11-7 record in league action

The ASU men's basketball team will kick off the 84th season and third season under head coach John Brady when they open regular season action against Ole Miss on Nov. 12. The Red Wolves will get a pair of tune-up games to prepare for the season facing Ouachita Baptist on Nov. 4 and Henderson State on Nov. 8. Tipoff for both games at the Convocation Center is set for 7:05 p.m. ASU will host a total of 15 dates throughout the season including marquee league matchups against  Western Kentucky (Jan. 1), Middle Tennessee (Jan. 13), Denver (Feb. 5), North Texas (Feb. 24) and against in-state rival UALR (Feb. 26).

Ouachita Baptist is an NCAA Division II opponent that plays in the Gulf South Conference. The Tigers has seven players returning from last year's squad which went 8-19 with a 4-10 GSC record. Senior forward Scott Day and sophomore guard Olen Jordan are the top two returners for the Tigers. Day averaged 9.6 points per game last season and pulled down 4.5 boards a game, Jordan averaged 8.7 ppg and led the squad with 44 assists per game.

The Red Wolves landed two players on the Sun Belt preseason all-conference second team with senior guard Donald Boone and junior forward Martavius Adams earning preseason honors.
     Boone was a preseason all-conference selection last year before injuring his knee in the first game of the season. Boone returns for his sixth year after averaging 13.6 points per game to lead the Red Wolves in 2008-09. Boone also led the squad in steals and minutes played.
     Adams is ASU's top returning player from a year ago when he averaged 11.6 points per game and led the team with a rebounding average of 7.5. Adams was also one of only two players to start in all 31 contests last season.
     "To have Martavius picked to the second-team is certainly an improvement for our team. Donald Boone, who created the respect two years ago by how he played in our first year here, is also second team, so that is definitely an improvement for us," said ASU head coach John Brady. "The first year we came here, we had no one picked and now we have two players picked after our second year. Hopefully that is a trend that will continue, and each year we will continue to have a player or two picked on the first or second team  from here on out."

In the preseason coaches' poll, also released Tuesday, the Red Wolves were tabbed to finish second in the west, grabbing 55 points behind 2009-10 tournament champion North Texas, who garnered all 12 of the first-place votes and 72 total points.
      Denver was tabbed third, picking up 51 points, followed by Louisiana-Lafayette (36), UALR (26) and Louisiana-Monroe (12).
     On the east side, Western Kentucky was the overall favorite to pick up the division title, grabbing 71 points and 11 first-place votes. Florida Atlantic was second with 53 points and one first-place vote. After FAU were South Alabama (47), Middle Tennessee (42), Florida International (22) and Troy (17). 
     "Our pick is certainly an indication based on what we did a year ago and based on the players we have returning and the respect that the program has created. Being picked second in the west after two years here has shown that our program has gained some respect around the league and within the league and hopefully that will continue with what we do this year," said Brady.

    With four of five starters returning from a year ago the Arkansas State basketball program will be bigger, stronger and more experienced this season under third-year head coach John Brady. The Red Wolves who posted a 17-11 mark last year including breaking double-digit league wins for only the seventh time since joining the Sun Belt are looking to improve on their second-place Western Division finish from last season.
    Along with the four starters from last year, a familiar face will also return to the fold in senior Donald Boone who received his sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after injuring his knee just four minutes into the 2009-10 campaign. Boone was a preseason All-Sun Belt selection prior to last season and led the Red Wolves in 08-09 scoring 13.6 points per game which ranked 11th in the league and also led the team in minutes per game (30.4) and steals (54).
    Boone adds to an already stellar group of last year's returners led by junior forward Martavius Adams. Adams, who stands at 6-8, is the top returner from last season when he averaged 11.6 points per game and led the squad in rebounding averaging 7.5 per game. Adams was one of only two players to start all 31 games last season and ranked fourth in the league in rebounding and field goal percentage. Adams also posted a team-high four double-doubles last season.
    Senior guard and floor marshal Rashad Allison also returns for the Red Wolves as the only other player to start all 31 contests a year ago. Allison led the squad with 127 assists and 69 steals which ranked sixth in the conference. He averaged 8.5 points per game and was second in minutes played with 1,013.
    A pair of sophomore starters also returns for the Red Wolves in Trey Finn and Brandon Peterson. Finn quickly became one of the most prolific rebounding guards in the league last year ranking second on the team with a 6.5 average while scoring 7.8 ppg.  Finn ranked sixth in the league in defensive rebounding and ninth overall.
    Peterson also put his stamp on the league ranking second in blocked shots as a true freshman last year with 61. Peterson averaged 6.9 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game playing in all 31 games while drawing 19 starts.
    Combined with their solid returning starters ASU also has several reserves returning who logged quality minutes led by junior Daniel Bryant who played in 22 games after hurting his shoulder early in the year. Bryant averaged 10.5 points per game and had 18 assists and 39 steals. Senior forward Jeremy Thomas also brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the team. Thomas saw action in 29 games last year averaging 4.4 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game.
    Adding to the mix will be newcomers Chano Rashiduddin a 6-9 junior college transfer out of Indian Hills CC and true freshman Ed Townsel and Spencer Caraway. Along with the three newcomers, ASU had two players sit out last season including Malcoln Kirkland a 6-8 transfer from Oklahoma State and Kinley Ogbonnaya-Branch a redshirt freshman from Stone Mountain, Ga.
    ASU also got a new look on the end of the bench as two new coaches will be alongside Brady for the season after joining the program earlier this summer. "New" may be a misleading term as both these coaches bring a wealth of knowledge to the program. Isaac Brown begins his tenure as associate head coach and comes to ASU after serving as an assistant coach at Arkansas for the past three seasons. Prior to his time at Arkansas; Brown was an assistant coach at South Alabama. Richard Williams joined the coaching staff late in the summer and will serve as an assistant coach. Williams is well known as the former head coach at Mississippi State. While with the Bulldogs, Williams led the squad to the NCAA Final Four in 1996. During his time at MSU, Williams led his team to five postseason appearances and was named the SEC coach of the year twice.

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