NAU men's basketball picked 4th in Big Sky preseason polls

OGDEN, Utah -- The Northern Arizona men's basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky preseason media and coaches polls. Both polls were released Thursday by the conference office.

"The Big Sky this year, much like the past few years, will be very competitive from top to bottom," said head coach Jack Murphy. "You must be ready to compete every week, because the league is filled with good players and coaches."

Weber State was picked to win by the coaches for a second straight year by one vote over Montana. The two teams registered six first-place votes apiece. Eastern Washington was voted third with 99 points, while NAU came in fourth with 79 points.

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The top two were reversed in the media poll -- Montana (220), Weber State (194) -- followed by Eastern Washington (183). NAU and Sacramento State tied for fourth at 133. Montana received 14 first-place votes, Weber State got two, and Eastern Washington, NAU, and Sacramento State all received one first-place vote apiece.

NAU returns 2014-15 Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year senior forward Jordyn Martin. The Las Vegas native averaged a double-double of 12.8 points and 11.8 rebounds during the Lumberjacks CIT run. Kris Yanku, the nation's leading free-throw leader and a Big Sky first-team honoree, also returns for the 'Jacks. Yanku led the team with 30 double-figure scoring games.

Martin and Yanku are the only two returning starters for NAU, which registered a school-record 23 victories last season as the postseason tournament runners-up.

NAU hosts Cal Baptist in an exhibition on Nov. 6. The Lumberjacks open the regular season on Nov. 13 at Washington State.