Bulletin Staff Report

Coming off a 7-18 season, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets were picked to finish fifth in the American Southwest Conference West division, according to the ASC preseason menís basketball poll released Tuesday.

The top four teams from the West and East divisions will meet in the eight-team conference championship tournament at the site of the West champion. HPU hosted the tournament in 2005.

Howard Payne (7-18, 7-14) trailed Mary Hardin-Baylor (22-6, 17-4), McMurry (20-7, 17-4), Hardin-Simmons (16-12, 14-7) and Concordia (10-16, 9-12) in the poll.

UMHB and McMurry received 10 first-place votes each, but the Crusaders finished with 170 voting points ó seven more than McMurry ó to earn favorite honors. Concordia had three first-place votes and Hardin-Simmons collected one.

Rounding out the West selections were Sul Ross (8-16, 8-13) in sixth place, Texas Lutheran (4-20, 4-17) in seventh place and Schreiner in eighth place (6-19, 6-15).

Hardin-Simmons senior center Mardochee Jean was tabbed preseason player of the year after posting 13.3 points and a league-high 11.6 rebounds per game last year.

In the East division, reigning conference champ Mississippi College (27-3, 19-1) was picked to repeat and Choctaw senior forward Tyler Winford was named preseason player of the year.