NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana-Lafayette forward J.J. Thomas, a former Scotlandville High player, was a first-team, preseason all-Sun Belt selection, and the Ragin’ Cajuns a No. 2 pick in the preseason poll during the SBC’s Men’s Basketball Media Day on Wednesday.
Thomas was second-team all-conference last season after leading the Cajuns to the league’s West Division championship. He averaged 11.3 points per game as a freshman, helping fuel the Cajuns’ season-ending, 11-game winning streak. He averaged 16.1 points and 7.1 rebounds a game during that surge.
UL-Monroe guard Fred Brown is a third-team pick. South Alabama forward Augustine Rubit is the preseason Player of the Year.
The Cajuns of coach Bob Marlin, entering his second season at the school, were runners-up to Arkansas State in the preseason, West Division rankings.
ULL received two first-place votes and a total of 60 points from the league’s head coaches.
Arkansas State, led by former LSU coach John Brady, received eight-first place votes and 64 points to top the West.
North Texas finished third with 50 points, followed by Denver (40), Arkansas-Little Rock (26) and Louisiana-Monroe (12).
Florida Atlantic received 11 first-place votes to easily outdistance runner-up Middle Tennessee in the East Division.
Headlining the list of returners for Marlin’s Cajuns is a talented trio of Raymone Andrews, Josh Brown and J.J. Thomas. The team will have six newcomers.
ULL opens the regular season at the San Francisco Hilltop Challenge Nov. 11-13 and hosts the Beryl Shipley Classic the following week.