UVU basketball: Aird named first team, Wolverines fourth in WAC preseason poll

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 12:20 p.m. MDT

UVU's Ben Aird backs down an HBU defender in the Wolverines 83-21 victory Saturday night.

Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics

LAS VEGAS — In its first season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, Utah Valley University was picked to finish fourth by the coaches and the media. The preseason poll was released at the annual WAC Preview and Media Day in Las Vegas at the Orleans, the site of the 2014 WAC Tournament.

Senior center Ben Aird was voted first team All-WAC by the coaches and the media, while the coaches also selected a second team with senior guard Holton Hunsaker making the list.

"It's nice to see them receive that respect and for Ben to be voted to the first team is great," coach Dick Hunsaker said.

New Mexico State is the pick to win the WAC in both polls. The Aggies received all 24 first-place votes by the media and eight first-place votes from the coaches. In the coaches poll, Seattle U came in second with Bakersfield third and UVU tied with Idaho for fourth. Chicago State, Texas-Pan American, Grand Canyon and Kansas City round out the poll.

"I really can't detect a lot from preseason polls other than New Mexico State is clearly the conference favorite and deservedly so," Hunsaker said. "The other teams in the conference are going to have to do a lot of work to compete with them."

On the media side, Idaho was slated second, Bakersfield third and UVU fourth. Seattle U, Chicago State, Texas-Pan American, Kansas City and Grand Canyon cap off that poll.

Joining Aird on the first team is the pick for preseason Player of the Year in both polls, Daniel Mullings of New Mexico State. Also on the first team in both polls are Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State), Brandon Barnes (Bakersfield) and Stephen Madison (Idaho).

On the coaches' second team are Quinton Pippen (Chicago State), Demetrius Walker (Grand Canyon), Connor Hill (Idaho), Clarence Trent (Seattle U) and Hunsaker.

The season tips off Nov. 8 at the UCCU Center with UVU hosting IUPUI. The 2014 WAC Tournament will be held March 13-15, 2014. It will be the first year that UVU will compete for an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.