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Larry Blair Named To Big South Conference Preseason Team; Liberty Picked To Finish Fifth
Blair, who received five first-place votes and 86 total points, has earned all-conference honors all three seasons at Liberty, including first-team accolades the past two years. He was second in overall conference scoring last season at 22.6, and averaged a league-high 24.2 points in 16 Big South games. He was one of only two players to rank in eight-or-more different conference statistical categories. Blair scored 20-or-more points in a game a league-high 18 times, including six 30-point efforts, and he enters the 2006-07 season 12th in Big South history with 1,580 career points – 572 away from breaking the scoring record.
Winthrop University senior Torrell Martin has been voted the Big South Conference Preseason Men's Basketball Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season. Martin has earned first-team All-Big South honors the past two seasons and is coming off a campaign where averaged 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 44.3 percent from the floor and 1.78 steals per game. He was named MVP of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship for the second-straight year in helping the Eagles capture their sixth tournament crown in eight years. Martin received six first-place votes and finished with 94 points in the voting to earn a spot on the preseason All-Conference team.
Rounding out the all-conference preseason team are Arizona Reid of High Point, Jack Leasure of Coastal Carolina and Craig Bradshaw of Winthrop.
For the second-consecutive year, Winthrop was the unanimous selection among the 30 voters. The Eagles were the conference's regular-season and tournament champion last year following a league-best 23-8 overall record and 13-3 mark in Big South games. Coastal Carolina, last year's regular-season and tournament runner-up, finished second in the voting with 187 points, just five points ahead of No. 3 High Point (182). Charleston Southern, which has reached the Advance Auto Parts Men's Basketball Championship semifinals the past two years, was predicted to finish fourth (121), while Liberty placed fifth in the voting (117). UNC Asheville was predicted sixth (100), followed by Radford (seventh) and VMI (eighth).
The men's season, which features Winthrop, Coastal Carolina and Liberty in the February 16-17 ESPN BracketBusters event, begins Friday, Nov. 10 and culminates with the Advance Auto Parts Big South Basketball Championship the week of Feb. 27-March 3. ESPN2 will televise the championship game live at 2 p.m. ET.
Liberty opens its 2006-07 season on November 16 at Oklahoma and the Flames home opener is slated for November 21 against Cincinnati Christian at the Vines Center. Tip off for that game is slated for 7 p.m.