ISU Men Picked Third; Eldridge Preseason POY
Oct. 28, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men's basketball team has been projected to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference, according to the 2008-09 preseason poll determined by a panel of league sports information directors, head coaches and media members. Junior guard Osiris Eldridge was also tabbed as the league's preseason player of the year, after finishing second in the 2008 Larry Bird Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year voting.
The Redbirds made their first postseason tournament since 2001 last year in the first season under head coach Tim Jankovich. ISU also tied the school record for wins, posting a 25-10 record in 2007-08. The Redbirds received a total of 309 points in the preseason poll, including one first-place vote.
ISU trails Creighton in the preseason poll, which returns a veteran backcourt and solid depth from last season's fourth-place Valley finish, and Southern Illinois. The Bluejays top the poll with 386 points and 36 first-place votes. SIU is second with 322 points and two first-place tallies. After Illinois State are Drake (274), Bradley (219), Northern Iowa (186), Indiana State (137), Evansville (122), Wichita State (105) and Missouri State (85).
As the league's preseason player of the year, Eldridge was also one of five Valley student-athletes named to the league's preseason all-conference team. As a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection last season, Eldridge averaged 15.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
The Chicago native posted 30 double-digit scoring outputs during the 2007-08 season, including nine games with 20 or more points. He scored a career-high 34 points at Indiana State last season, and posted his first-career double-doubles at Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green.
Joining Eldridge on the Valley's Preseason All-Conference Team were Drake's Jonathan Cox and Josh Young; Southern Illinois' Bryan Mullins; and Creighton's P'Allen Stinnett. Evansville's Shy Ely and Jason Holsinger received honorable mention honors, along with Bradley's Andrew Warren and Theron Wilson.
Illinois State will host Illinois-Springfield Nov. 11, on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena for the Redbirds' lone exhibition game prior to the start of the season. ISU will officially begin the 2008-09 campaign Nov. 15, when Illinois State travels to Dayton, Ohio, to face Wright State.