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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Texas Southern Chosen SWAC Men's Basketball Favorite; Preseason All-SWAC Selections also Announced

POSTED: October 14, 2022 -- 11:09 a.m. CT

Friday morning, the Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2022-23 Men's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish and Preseason All-SWAC teams and individual award winners during the league's virtual media day event. The all-conference honors and preseason poll was voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

Texas Southern was tabbed as the favorite heading into the 2022-23 season. The Tigers were followed by Alcorn State (2nd), Southern (3rd), Prairie View A&M (4th) and Florida A&M (5th) to round out the top five preseason poll selections.

Grambling State (6th), Jackson State (7th), Bethune-Cookman (8th), Alabama A&M (9th), Alabama State (10th), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (11th), and Mississippi Valley State (12th) were tabbed to finish 6-12 respectively.

TSU led all preseason poll selections garnering 14 first place votes, followed by Southern (3), Alcorn State (2), and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2). Prairie View A&M (1), Jackson State (1), and Bethune-Cookman (1) each tallied one first place vote.

Bethune Cookman's Joe French was named Preseason Player of the Year, while Texas Southern's Karl Nicholas claimed Preseason Defensive Player of the Year recognition.

French finished the season fourth in the SWAC in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game. He shot 45.3 percent from the field ranking sixth-best in the conference. Most impressively, he shot 44.1 percent from behind the arc for the season which was the highest mark in the SWAC. French remained efficient despite attempting the second most three-pointers per game in the conference at 170 while making 75 of those attempts.

Nicholas ranked second on the team with 9.0 points per game to go along with 6.1 rebounds. He was a key contributor for a Texas Southern team that would claim the 2022 SWAC Men's Basketball Tournament Title. Nicholas was named SWAC Impact Player of the Week (December 9) after posting impressive performances during non-conference play. He contributed eleven points for the Tigers during the 2022 SWAC Tournament Championship game.

The complete list preseason poll rankings and all-conference selections and individual awards winners is listed below.

2022-23 SWAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

Team (First-place votes)
1. Texas Southern (14) 258
2. Alcorn State (2) 231
3. Southern (3) 215
4. Prairie View A&M (1) 171
5. Florida A&M 164
6. Grambling State 150
7. Jackson State (1) 149
8. Bethune-Cookman (1) 132
9. Alabama A&M 116
10. Alabama State 99
11. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 76
12. Mississippi Valley State 32

Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team.

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year - Joe French, Bethune-Cookman

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year - Karl Nicholas, Texas Southern

Preseason All-SWAC First Team

Joe French, Bethune-Cookman

Tyrone Lyons, Southern

Cameron Christon, Grambling State

Garrett Hicks, Alabama A&M

Karl Nicholas, Texas Southern

Preseason All-SWAC Second Team

Dominic Brewton, Alcorn State

Jeremiah Gambrell, Prairie View A&M

Keondre Montgomery, Alcorn State

Bryson Etienne, Southern

John Walker III, Texas Southern

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