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Southern Conference preseason awards 2018-19: You know Fletcher Magee, now meet Francis Alonso

Alonso and Magee headline our preseason all-SoCon first team.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-UNCG vs Gonzaga Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The following are the preseason all-conference teams and other superlatives as we head into the 2018-19 SoCon Basketball season.

Player of the Year:

Fletcher Magee (Wofford)

In the annals of Wofford basketball, there have been some great shooters — brothers Seth Chadwick and Ian Chadwick come to mind — but there have been none better than Magee. Last season, he was simply lethal from long-range, leading the nation with 148 triples.

Not only did Magee lead the nation in three-pointers made, he also ranked 15th nationally in three-point field goal attempts.

The guard from Orlando nearly became the third player in the modern era of the Southern Conference to leave school early and enter the NBA Draft, but decided to return to school for his senior season.

Magee is already the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. He has scored 1,807 career points, and needs 715 this season to surpass George Lyons (1962-65) as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Magee’s 751 points last season were also a single-season school record. Magee scored 45 points in a win at Chattanooga, breaking a school record for points in a game, as well as tying the school mark for three-pointers made in a single game with 11.

First Team All-SoCon:

Fletcher Magee, Wofford (22.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 43.9% 3PT)

Francis Alonso, UNC Greensboro (15.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 40% 3PT): Alonso is sometimes forgotten about as a great shooter. Call it the Fletcher Magee effect. But ask any coach around the SoCon and they will tell you that Alonso is as lethal a perimeter shooter as there is.

So far in his career, Alonso ranks second in program history with 297 three-point field goals, third in three-point field goal percentage, and first in free throw percentage. He also ranked 16th nationally in three-point field goal percentage last season.

Alonso needs just 13 more triples to set a new school all-time mark, with 310 career threes.

Bo Hodges, East Tennessee State (9.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG): Bo Hodges was the 2017-18 SoCon Freshman of the Year and was asked to do more than previously thought due to a preseason injury to post performer Jeromy Rodriguez. With Rodriguez now back to full health, it’s expected for Hodges to play more of his natural position on the perimeter. Expect his scoring numbers to go up this year, as well as his three-point field goals. Hodges shot 52 percent from three-point range during scrimmages during the offseason, according to ETSU head coach Steve Forbes.

Cameron Jackson, Wofford (12.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG): Cam Jackson was a second-team All-SoCon selection last season, and will likely start this season as a first-team all-league selection.

Jackson was particularly solid on defense, where he posted 55 steals last season to rank third overall in the league, while his 45 blocks were good for second. On offense, Jackson was also efficient, leading the conference by shooting 60.1 percent from the field.

In Wofford’s season-ending loss to Central Michigan in the CIT, Jackson posted 22 points and nine rebounds. In the Dec. 20 win over No. 5 North Carolina, Jackson registered 18 points, nine rebounds, six blocks, three assists and three steals. He registered a career-high 13 rebounds to go with 13 points in a game against The Citadel.

Zane Najdawi, The Citadel (15.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG): Najdawi might be the most versatile big man in the SoCon, and, perhaps in all of mid-major hoops. He shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc last season and over 50 percent from the field overall. He also blocked 42 shots and recorded 21 steals, showing his abilities on both ends of the floor.

Second Team

G Nathan Hoover (Wofford)
G Bubba Parham (VMI)
G Jordan Lyons (Furman)
F Matt Rafferty (Furman)
F/C James Dickey (UNCG)

Third Team

G Demetrius Troy (UNCG)
G Storm Murphy (Wofford
G Ross Cummings (Mercer)
F Jeromy Rodriguez (East Tennessee State)
F-Noah Gurley (Furman)

Superlatives:

Freshman of the Year: Noah Gurley (Furman)
Defensive Player of the Year: James Dickey (UNCG)
Toughest Non-Conference Schedule: Furman/Wofford
Best Shooter: Magee (Wofford)
Most Improved Team: Chattanooga
Top Transfer: Patrick Good (Appalachian State to East Tennessee State)
Best Dunker: Clay Mounce (Furman)/Isaiah Miller (UNCG)
Best JUCO Transfer: Carlos Dotson (Western Carolina)
SoCon Dark Horse: The Citadel

Best Non-Conference Games: North Carolina at Wofford (Nov. 6); ETSU at Georgia State (Nov. 6); UNCG at LSU (Nov. 9); Furman at Loyola-Chicago (Nov. 9); Furman at Villnova (Nov. 16); UNCG at Kentucky (Dec. 1) Wofford at Kansas (Dec. 4)

Tournament Champion: UNCG