INDIANAPOLIS– Preseason Horizon League Player of the Year sophomore Ray McCallum (Beverly Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) headlines a group of three first team Titans and the team was chosen as the league runner-up in the league’s 2011-12 Preseason Poll, released Tuesday.
McCallum was a runaway choice for the award and joined teammates senior Chase Simon (Detroit, Mich./Community/Central Michigan) and senior Eli Holman (Richmond, Calif./Richmond/Indiana) on the Preseason All-Horizon League First Team as chosen by the conference’s head coaches, sports information directors and select media members.
According to the league’s record book (which dates to the 2000-01 season), McCallum becomes the first sophomore to be lauded as the top preseason player. The three first team members from one school is also a first.
Two-time national finalist Butler edged-out Detroit in the team predictions, grabbing 28 first-place nods for 468 points. Detroit was just 15 points behind with 19 first-place nods while third-place Cleveland State (388) had a pair of top picks and Milwaukee (356) had the final first-place vote in a tightly-bunched group at the top of the standings. Valparaiso was fifth with 255 points with Green Bay close behind at 247 points. Youngstown State (195), Wright State (157), Loyola (145) and UIC (86) rounded-out the poll.
Last season, McCallum became the first UDM true freshman to be named to an All-Horizon League Team. He also grabbed the Newcomer of the Year Award from the HL, the fifth Detroit player to earn that distinction. The rookie phenom led the team in scoring (13.5 ppg) while collecting the most assists and steals a year ago. The coach’s son turned a busy summer schedule into a spot on the Team USA roster at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China. That squad finished fifth, competing against some of the top talent in the world.
Holman had a solid performance in his junior campaign, racking-up a league-high 13 double-doubles while leading the circuit in both offensive (3.5 rpg) and defensive (6.1) rebounds. Holman was a Second Team All-Horizon League selection and was named to the All-Defensive Team for the second straight year. He was the Legends Classic MVP during the Thanksgiving tournament held at Calihan Hall.
Simon was recognized with the John Kirwan Award as one of the team’s leading scorers (13.5 ppg). Simon was also the top scorer in 2009-10 en route to over 1,000 collegiate points in just three seasons. He has
909 points in a Detroit uniform and will be aiming to become the 35th player to reach the 1,000-point plateau at the school.
The 2011-12 campaign begins Oct. 29 when the Titans host Madonna University in an exhibition tilt. The regular season tips off Nov. 11 at Calihan Hall against Lake Erie College.