Grand Canyon selected to capture PacWest title; Pickrel chosen Preseason Player of Year

Pickrel hits game-winner in 2011-12 PHOENIX, Ariz.Grand Canyon senior forward/center Braylon Pickrel (Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain) has been selected the Pacific West Conference Preseason Player of the Year, while his Antelopes have been picked to win the PacWest Championship.

The conference unveiled the PacWest Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team and Predicted Order of Finish live during the PacWest Men's Basketball Media on Thursday, Nov. 8, on KQCK in San Tan Valley, Ariz. KQCK is the home of the weekly PacWest Radio Show that is broadcast worldwide on the Internet in high definition audio and video.

Pickrel (left), an All-PacWest Second Team selection in 2011-12, also was one of seven players named to the PacWest Preseason All-Conference squad. He helped the Antelopes to the NCAA II West Regional by averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 58.0% from the floor. He also shot 85.7% from the line.

The Antelopes received seven of a possible 14 first-place votes and totaled 187 points in the predicted order of finish voted upon by the head coaches of the conference. Grand Canyon finished 19-8 overall last year with a 13-5 mark in the conference.

Dixie State (20-7/15-3) - the reigning PacWest Champion and 2011-12 NCAA II Playoff team - claimed five of the remaining seven first-place votes and is picked to finish second (183 points), while BYU-Hawaii (17-10/14-4) collected the final two top votes and is listed as landing third this season after totaling 169 points.

Azusa Pacific (135), California Baptist (133) and Chaminade (118) were ranked fourth through sixth, respectively, while Dominican and Fresno Pacific shared the seventh-place slot with 103 points. The Cougars were 24-8 in their final year in the NAIA, while California Baptist posted a 16-10 overall record and a 10-8 mark in its first season in the PacWest. The Silverswords were 11-14 overall and 9-9 in the league.

Point Loma also wrapped up its history in the NAIA last season with a 21-10 record and is picked to finish ninth after garnering 85 points. Hawai'i Pacific (82), Hawai'i Hilo (57), Notre Dame de Namur (56), Academy of Art (36) and Holy Names (23) were 10th through 14th, respectively.

Junior Ale In addition to Pickrel, the PacWest Preseason All-Conference Team featured six other players, including two from BYU-Hawaii.

Senior guard Okesene (Junior) Ale (Hau'ula, HI/Kahuku - right) – a Second Team All-PacWest choice last year – and junior forward Bracken Funk (Highland, UT/Lone Peak) each made the preseason squad for the Seasiders.

Funk averaged 12.4 points per game while pulling down 7.7 boards per contest. He shot 50.0% (136 for 272) from the floor and had 21 blocks, 49 steals and 59 assists.

Ale averaged 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3% from beyond the arc. He also totaled 90 assists in the contest.

Luke Evans Dominican senior center Jacob Noisat (Santa Rosa, CA/Elsie Allen - right), who also made the PacWest Second Team last season, earns a preseason honor for a terrific campaign in 2011-12 that saw him average 11.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest while shooting 54.0% (127 for 235) from the field.

Academy of Art senior guard Ameer Shamsud-din (Portland, OR/Benson Polytechnic), an Honorable Mention All-PacWest following the 2011-12 season, claimed preseason accolades after he posted 16.6 points per contest. In the conference season, he stepped up his game to average 17.1 points per outing.

Chaminade sophomore guard Lee Bailey (Detroit, MI/Detroit Country Day), the 2011-12 Co-PacWest Freshman of the Year, was given the nod to join the preseason team after he averaged 13.5 points per game last season.

California Baptist senior center and 2011-12 PacWest Newcomer of the Year Luke Evans (Oceanside, CA/El Camino - above left) rounds out the preseason squad. Last season Evans was stellar in his new conference surroundings, averaging 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 54.1% (139 for 257) from the floor.

Evans was the lone All-PacWest First Team selection from the 2011-12 squad to land on this year's preseason team.