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Mountain West Men’s Basketball Media Days Recap: Day 1

The first day of Mountain West men’s basketball media days took place Wednesday. The preseason poll and other preseason accolades were also announced.

San Diego State v Boise State Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Mountain West men’s basketball season is getting close as the conference hosted the first of two media day sessions and announced its preseason poll.

The San Diego State Aztecs were selected as the preseason favorites, earning 16 of 20 possible first-place votes. The Wyoming Cowboys came in second, picking up the other four first-place votes.

Following them were the reigning regular season and tournament champion Boise State Broncos, followed by the Colorado State Rams and New Mexico Lobos at the top five. Here is the full poll:

Also announced were several personal accolades, including the preseason All-Mountain West team. Wyoming’s duo of Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado, who finished second and sixth, respectively, in scoring in the conference last season were named to the team.

Joining them is Colorado State guard Isaiah Stevens, who is currently out “indefinitely” due to a foot injury. New Mexico’s Jamal Mashburn Jr. and San Diego State’s Matt Bradley round out the team.

Ike was named the conference Preseason Player of the Year. San Diego State’s Darrion Trammell was voted as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year. Trammell comes to the Aztecs by way of Seattle University. New Mexico’s Joseph Hunter was chosen as the Preseason Freshman of the Year

Here are some highlights from the six teams that spoke yesterday:

New Mexico

The Lobos appear to be a popular dark horse pick this season. Second-year coach Richard Pitino returns all five starters from last season, including Mashburn who averaged 18.2 points per game, and Jaelen House, who was 10th in scoring with 16.9 points per game. New Mexico was the top-scoring offense in the conference last season (74.3 points per game). With how the Lobos finished last season, many expect them to continue that into this season.

San Jose State

The Spartans made significant progress in the first year under Tim Miles. Just like New Mexico, San Jose State brings back all five starters. We know turning around the Spartans is a tall task that will likely take significant time. But by being picked 11th, and returning a lot of their core players, the Spartans could be making more progress as the year goes on.


The Cowboys burst onto the scene and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Just like the other two teams ahead of them, Wyoming brings back most of its core from last season, including the duo of Ike and Maldonado. At media days, coach Jeff Linder said the leadership and discipline of the duo helped the rest of the team flourish. Linder and the rest of his squad are looking to get off to a good start in the non-conference to be in a position to be in the NCAA Tournament again last season.

Fresno State

While the four Mountain West teams that made the NCAA Tournament get talked a lot about, there was a team from the conference that brought home some hardware. The Fresno State Bulldogs took home The Basketball Classic championship last season. Last season, the Bulldogs finished a respectable sixth, with 18 regular season wins in a competitive conference. The Bulldogs will have to replace their dynamic big man Orlando Robinson, but coach Justin Hutson believes the experience of playing for a championship last year will pay dividends.

Boise State

The Broncos are not the favorites despite returning a good amount of members from last year’s team that won the Mountain West regular season and tournament championships. They lost Emmanuel Akot and Abu Kigab, but return several key contributors like Marcus Shaver Jr, Naje Smith, and Tyson Degenhart. The Broncos also bring in Texas Tech transfer Chibuzo Agbo. Coach Leon Rice believes his team will be much improved on the offensive end.


Kevin Kruger enters his second season as head coach of the Runnin’ Rebels. This year’s team will look a lot different with nine new players. Kruger will be tasked with replacing three of their main contributors – leading scorer Bryce Hamilton – along with Donovan Williams and Royce Hamm. Along with having to replace all of his assistant coaches, who all left for power conference jobs, Kruger and his new staff have made additions through the transfer portal. Kruger believes the transfers he brought in, especially the five D-I transfers, have the knowledge and experience to make an immediate impact.