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Summit League preseason awards: Familiar faces are back for more

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Some of the last year’s biggest stars are back again.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Gonzaga vs South Dakota State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For many fans in the college basketball community, the Summit League doesn’t come to mind as one of the more entertaining conferences in the country. However, there’s plenty of star power that can fill it up on a given night.

This year, the Summit League returns some of its biggest names from a season ago. Four of the six players named to the first team All-Conference last year are back, and will almost surely be strong contenders to do the same again this year.

Here’s our preseason favorites for those All-Conference teams, as well as the favorites to take home the awards.

Player of the Year

Mike Daum - South Dakota State

Did you really expect anybody else? Daum is dominant on a nightly basis, and has a chance to be even better this year, if that’s even possible. After averaging 25.1 points per game last year, the reigning POY is tied for the nation’s leading returning scorer with Campbell’s Chris Clemons.

Daum scored 30 or more points 12 times last year, including a 51-point, 15-rebound outburst against Fort Wayne. He scored 37 points against Omaha in the conference tournament title game. He’s a walking bucket, and there are few players in the league that can match up with him. Barring injury or any other unforeseen hiccups, Daum should be the heavy favorite to repeat as Player of the Year. He’s that good.

Coach of the Year

Rodney Billups - Denver

Before sputtering late last season, Denver was in the thick of the race for the regular season title. With a roster laden with upperclassmen, Rodney Billups is staring at a great opportunity to build upon what can be considered a solid first year as head coach.

The Pioneers were among the best teams in the country at shooting the ball. They hit 40 percent from three-point range, and hit over fifty percent of their shots inside the arc. With another year to learn Billups’s system and the benefit of roster continuity, a strong showing from Denver could land their head coach some hardware.

Newcomer of the Year

David Jenkins Jr. - South Dakota State

For as good as the Jackrabbits’ frontcourt is, the backcourt does not pack the same punch. Michael Orris, who was the predominant lead guard last year, is gone to graduation, leaving a hole at the helm of the offense. Chris Howell and Tevin King can slide in, but freshman guard David Jenkins Jr. could really make this offense soar.

Jenkins was a huge recruiting score for T.J. Otzelberger, and the three-star recruit can fill it up with the best of them. He’s a guard that’s able to create his own shot, and scored over 50 points twice during his senior season. If Jenkins is able to prove early on to be a reliable floor general for the Jacks, he could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of all the attention that Daum will draw from opposing defenses.

First Team

Mike Daum - South Dakota State
Matt Mooney - South Dakota
John Konchar - Fort Wayne
Daniel Amigo - Denver
Paul Miller - North Dakota State

Second Team

Bryson Scott - Fort Wayne
Trey Burch-Manning - South Dakota
Albert Owens - Oral Roberts
Zach Jackson - Omaha
Joe Rosga - Denver

Honorable Mention

Reed Tellinghuisen - South Dakota State
Mitch Hahn - Omaha
A.J. Jacobson - North Dakota State
Emmanuel Nzekwezi - Oral Roberts
C.J. Duff - Western Illinois