Colonels picked to finish 6th in preseason coaches poll
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – October 22, 2019 – Eastern Kentucky University sophomore guard Jomaru Brown has been voted to the Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Team, the league announced on Tuesday at its annual Media Day.
Brown earned OVC All-Newcomer Team honors last season as a freshman. He ranked seventh in the OVC in scoring during conference play at 16.9 points-per-game. That number led all freshmen in the league.
The 6-2 guard out of Raleigh, North Carolina also ranked second in the OVC in steals during the regular season with 60 – a new EKU freshman record.
He emerged on the scene with a 21-point performance in the win over Kennesaw State at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on November 19. A week later, he went for 14 points, six rebounds, a career-high six steals and three assists at then-No. 6 Tennessee.
Brown opened OVC play with a 26-point performance at Austin Peay on January 3. On January 10, he poured in 24 points on the road at Tennessee State.
Brown closed out the season on fire. He dropped 30 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead EKU to a 75-65 home win over Tennessee State on February 9. He had 17 points and a career-high nine assists in the win over Austin Peay on February 28. He closed out the season with a career-high 31 points versus rival Morehead State on March 2.
Brown averaged 14.4 points-per-game over the whole season. He was voted OVC Freshman of the Week three times.
EKU was picked to finish sixth out of 12 teams in a preseason poll of league head coaches and sports information directors.
The Colonels received 128 points in the poll. Belmont was tabbed the preseason OVC favorite, but not by much. The Bruins received 17 first-place votes and a total of 237 points. Murray State, the defending OVC Tournament champion, finished second in the poll with seven first-place votes and a total of 223 points.
Jacksonville State was third with 187 points, followed by Austin Peay (180 points), UT Martin (154), EKU (128), Eastern Illinois (124), Morehead State (113), Tennessee State (90), SIUE (63), Southeast Missouri (49) and Tennessee Tech (36).
EKU was picked to finish ninth in the OVC Media Poll, which was released last Friday.
EKU will have to replace its all-time leading scorer, Nick Mayo, in 2019-20. Mayo scored 2,316 points (fifth most by an OVC player) and – arguably even more impressive – started every game during his four-year Colonel career — 124 consecutive starts.
Second-year head coach A.W. Hamilton plans to replace Mayo by committee. Back is a trio of talented sophomores in Brown, Houston King and Tre King. Houston King ranked third in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage during his rookie campaign (42.7%). Tre King played in all 31 games as a freshman and was second on the team in rebounds (137) and blocks (17).
Two veteran newcomers are also expected to be key contributors this season. Darius Hicks – a 6-8 forward – transferred from N.C. State in 2018 and had to sit out last season. He will be expected to fill some of the inside void left by Mayo’s departure. Taylor is a graduate transfer from UNC Wilmington. The 6-3 guard averaged just under 14 points-per-game as a sophomore at UNCW and has already played in 85 Division-I games in his collegiate career.
Seniors Lachlan Anderson and Kelvin Robinson and juniors Peyton Broughton, Cameron Carmical and Jacquess Hobbs bring depth and experience to the roster.
Hamilton hopes to continue the fast-paced, press-for-40-minutes style he implemented last year in his first season at the helm. EKU ranked 13th in the country in scoring (82.6 points-per-game) and second in both steals-per-game (10.2) and turnovers forced-per-game (18.2) in 2018-19.
EKU will host Berea College in an exhibition on Thursday, October 31 at McBrayer Arena.
The Colonels open the regular season by hosting Chattanooga on Tuesday night, November 5, at 7:00 p.m.