VMI's Okoye Voted 2012-13 Preseason Player of the Year
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - VMI senior Stan Okoye (Raleigh, N.C.) has been voted the 2012-13 Big South Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year by the League's Head Coaches and media panel, it was announced today at the Conference's annual Basketball Tip-Off Media Luncheon at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
Okoye enjoyed his first All-Conference season last year as a Second-Team honoree after averaging 17.1 points that ranked third in the Big South. He was the lone player in the Conference last season to average at least 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, as he was eighth in the League with 7.2 boards per game. Okoye was fifth in the Big South in field goal percentage at 51.9 percent -- his third-straight year over the 50 percent threshold, and his 200 field goals made led the Conference. He also had a career-high 47 steals last season. Okoye had 12 20-point games in 2011-12 with six double-doubles, and averaged 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot 54.3 percent from the floor in Big South games. He also landed a spot on the Big South All-Tournament Team after helping the Keydets reach the Championship game as the No. 7 seed. Okoye enters the 2012-13 campaign as the Big South's active leading career scorer and rebounder with 1,480 points and 672 rebounds, respectively, and is on the cusp of becoming the eighth player in Big South history with 1,500 career points and 700 career boards. Okoye received 14 first-place votes and 244 points in the balloting to earn a spot on the preseason All-Conference team.
2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
|Stan Okoye, VMI|
|Darren White, Campbell|
|Anthony Raffa, Coastal Carolina|
|Sea Isle City, N.J.|
|Trey Freeman, Campbell|
|Virginia Beach, Va.|
|Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern|
|Khalid Mutakabbir, Presbyterian College|
|Jeremy Atkinson, UNC Asheville|
|Elm City, N.C.|
|Arlon Harper, Charleston Southern|
|College Park, Ga.|
|Kierre Greenwood, Coastal Carolina|
|Tashan Newsome, Gardner-Webb|
White, who received seven first-place votes and 221 total points, was a Second-Team All-Conference honoree in 2011-12 after averaging 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 52.0 percent from the floor. He was fifth in the Big South in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage and eighth in blocked shots with 1.06 per game. White scored in double-figures 28 times last season, including 10 contests with at least 20.
Raffa was also a Second-Team All-Conference performer last season as well as a Second-Team NABC All-District selection. He led Coastal Carolina with 16.7 points to rank sixth in the Big South, while his 1.84 steals per game was fourth-highest in the Conference. Raffa also shot 48.0 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the charity stripe a season ago.
Freeman was last year's Big South Freshman of the Year after he tallied 13.9 points per game, 3.83 assists and a League-leading 87.1 free throw percentage -- just the fourth freshman to lead the Conference in free throw shooting. Freeman also was named to the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Freshmen All-America Team.
Nimley was a member of the Big South's All-Freshman Team last season after averaging 13.5 points, 3.87 assists and a 72.1 clip from the free throw line. In Conference games, Nimley averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 75.5 percent from the line, and he was also a Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Freshmen All-American.
For the first time in Big South history, a preseason All-Conference Second-Team has been recognized. The group features a member of the 2012 Big South All-Tournament Team (Atkinson), a 2012 All-Freshman Team member (Harper), a 2010 All-Freshman Team honoree (Greenwood), the League's leader in minutes played the past two seasons (Mutakabbir) and a player who made five game-winning baskets last season (Newsome).