Just about two weeks before the Mid-Eastern Athletics Conference begins regular season basketball play, the league announced its men’s and women’s 2022 preseason all-conference teams and predicted orders of finish.
Norfolk State senior 6-1 guard Joe Bryant, the most valuable player of the last two MEAC tournaments and last years’ men’s player of the year, was picked to repeat with the latter award. Bryant was second in the MEAC in scoring (16.7 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.432) and 3-pointers made (57), sixth in assists (3.2 apg) and eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.1) a year ago.
Bryant’s squad, the two-time defending MEAC champion Norfolk State Spartans, picked up 15 of a possible 16 first-place votes in being named the preseason favorite. The Eagles of N. C. Central picked up the other first- place vote in being picked to finish second. Howard and Morgan State were picked to finish third and fourth, respectively.
On the women’s side, Coppin State graduate guard Jaia Alexander was voted the MEAC Women’s Basket- ball Preseason Player of the Year. Alexander, the 2021-22 MEAC Player of the Year, led the conference in scoring last season with an average of 15.8 points per game. She also ranked second in the league in free throw percentage (.791) and fourth in rebounding (7.1 per game).
In addition, defending champion Howard was se- lected as the preseason favorite to win the MEAC ladies race. The Lady Bison racked up eight of a possible 16 first- place votes and notched 119 points. Norfolk State (four first-place votes) and Coppin State (two first-place votes) were picked second and third, respectively, and Morgan State was picked to finish fourth.
FIRST TEAM – Jaia Alexander, Gr., G, CSU; Destiny Howell, Jr., G, HOW; Iyanna Warren, Sr., G, HOW; Camille Downs, Gr., G, NSU; Deja Francis, Gr.,G, NSU
SECOND TEAM – Mossi Staples, r-Jr., G, CSU; Zamara Haynes, Jr., G, UMES; Ja’Niah Henson, Sr., G, MSU; Mahoganie Williams, Jr., F, NSU; Nicole Gwynn, So., G, SCSU;
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Howard (8), 119; 2. Norfolk State (4) 105 3. Coppin State (2) 89 4. Morgan State 85 5. Maryland Eastern Shore (2) 69 6. NC Central 54 7. SC State 30 8. Delaware State 25
FIRST TEAM – Nendah Tarke, Jr., G, CSU; Elijah Hawkins, So., G, HOW; Kris Bankston, Gr., F, NSU; Joe Bryant Jr., Sr., G, NSU; Justin Wright, Jr., G, NCCU. SECOND TEAM – Steve Settle III, r-Jr., F, HOW; Da’Shawn Phillip, Sr., F, UMES; Malik Miller, Sr., G, MSU; Eric Boone, r-Sr., F, NCCU; Kris Monroe, Sr., NCCU.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Norfolk State (15) 127; 2. NC Central (1) 102; 3. Howard 93; 4. Morgan State 81; 5. Coppin State 67 6. UMES 46; t-7. Delaware State 30 SC State 30