UWA’s Underwood named Pre-Season All-GSC

rp_primary_MBB_13-01-24-0161aa_fLIVINGSTON – University of West Alabama senior Sandy Underwood was named to the 2013-14 Gulf South Conference Pre-Season Men’s Basketball Team on Friday. The Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the upcoming season by league coaches.

Underwood is UWA’s second Pre-Season All-GSC player in two years after leading the team in rebounds (186) and posting the teams second most points last season with 405 (15.6 points per game). The Brent Ala. native totaled five double-doubles and eight 20-plus point performances. He earned GSC Player of the Week after recording his season best of 28 points against Shorter University.

“Sandy has really bought into what we are trying to do,” said UWA first year head coach Mark Downey.

“I don’t think anyone has really pushed him to his limits and I think he can do a lot more than what he has done. He did a lot last year, but I think he can be a great player. I like coaching him and being around him, so I think this honor is very deserving. Now he has to go out and prove it.”

The remainder of the preseason team consists of sophomore Wayne Dedrick of Alabama-Huntsville, sophomore Trey Casey of Christian Brothers, senior Bruce Adams of North Alabama, senior David Murray of Valdosta State and senior Ellis Young of West Florida. Dedrick was tabbed as the 2012-13 GSC Freshman of the Year.

Seven points separated the poll’s top three squads in the closest voting in recent history. Four teams collected at least one first-place vote including the Tigers, who collected 19 total points. North Alabama was selected as the GSC Men’s Basketball Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll Favorite with four first place votes; 44 total points. Defending Champion Christian Brothers (43) received two for second place and Alabama-Huntsville (37) received one for third.

“I like where we are starting out,” Downey said.

“I thought we might be voted a little higher than that with the talent we have returning, but it is good. We have some good talent and being in the bottom three gives us motivation. There are a lot of good teams and coaches in this league and I am looking forward to being back in it. We will definitely have our work cut out for us.”

UWA junior’s Cordell Pope and Lleon Tillman were both named to the GSC Men’s Basketball Top Newcomer’s list. Pope transferred from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he totaled 411 points (13.7 per game). Tillman comes by way of Olney Central College (Ohio) where he averaged 10.6 points per game, 9.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals.

“Cordell has a long way to go, but he has a chance to be very talented,” Downey said. “He’s been out for a while so it will take him a little time to get back. Lleon will join us for our conference schedule and I believe he is one of our most talented players. He has done everything we’ve asked us to do and has been a leader for us.”

The Tigers open the season Nov. 11 at home against Stillman College. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. in the newly renovated Pruitt Hall.