BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — For the first time as a Conference USA member, WKU Hilltopper
Basketball has been picked by the league coaches to win the conference.
The Hilltoppers were selected as the C-USA favorite in the annual preseason poll,
while WKU graduate senior forward Desean Murray and sophomore guard Taveion
Hollingsworth were selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team, the league office
WKU received nine first-place votes from the C-USA coaches, with 2018 C-USA
Tournament champion Marshall receiving the other five. Marshall defeated the
Hilltoppers 67-66 in last year’s championship game.
This is the first time WKU has been picked to win its conference since the program
was projected to win the Sun Belt in 2013-14.
It’s also the first time the Hilltoppers have had multiple preseason all-conference
selections since George Fant and T.J. Price in 2014-15.
Murray, a graduate transfer from Auburn, averaged 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7
assists as a junior while starting all 34 games for a 26-win Tigers squad that
claimed a share of the SEC regular-season championship and advanced to the second
round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 6-foot-4 forward from Stanley, N.C., shot 45.5 percent from the field and 84
percent from the free-throw line, while leading Auburn in rebounding and averaging
2.7 offensive boards per content.
Hollingsworth averaged 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists while starting all
38 games as a freshman, marking one of the best debut seasons in the history of
The 6-2 guard from Lexington, Ky., set new Hilltopper records for most points scored
(506), minutes played (1,312) and games started by a WKU freshman and was named to
the C-USA All-Freshman team.
Hollingsworth was one of just 20 freshmen in the nation to score at least 500 points
last year. He played more minutes as a freshman than all but five players in the
country since 2009, while only 10 freshmen – including eight top-20 NBA Draft picks
– started as many games and scored more points since 1992.
The Hilltoppers host their annual season tip-off event, Hilltopper Hysteria, at 6:30
p.m. CT tonight at E.A. Diddle Arena and will hold a free scrimmage open to fans at
2 p.m. Saturday.
WKU’s first exhibition game is against Campbellsville at 7 p.m. Oct. 30, while the
Hilltoppers open the regular season at Washington at 9:30 p.m. Nov. 6.
2018-19 C-USA Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
1. WKU (9)
2. Marshall (5)
3. Old Dominion
4. North Texas
6. LA Tech
7. Southern Miss
9. Middle Tennessee
12. Florida Atlantic
2018-19 C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Jon Davis, Charlotte
Daquan Bracey, Louisiana Tech
Jon Elmore, Marshall
C.J. Burks, Marshall
Roosevelt Smart, North Texas
Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion
B.J. Stith, Old Dominion
Zack Bryant, UAB
Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA
Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU
Desean Murray, WKU