Gipson earns Preseason All-WAC first team honors; Texans picked to finish 9th

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DENVER – In a Tarleton basketball career filled with firsts, senior Montre Gipson has added yet another installment to his laundry list of individual feats. 

The 5-11 guard garnered Preseason Media All-Western Athletic Conference first team accolades on Tuesday as announced by conference officials. Gipson was one of eight players to receive first team credentials. He was also selected to the Preseason Coaches’ All-WAC second team as voted on by conference head coaches. 

As a team, Tarleton was picked to finish ninth in the media poll, ahead of Lamar, UTRGV, Dixie State and Chicago State. The Texans and Vaqueros tied for the No. 9 spot in the coaches’ poll with 48 points each. 

Head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players. 

New Mexico State was named the preseason favorite in both polls. The Aggies tallied 138 points and eight first-place votes in the coaches’ poll to claim the top spot. Grand Canyon was picked to finish second with 131 points and three first-place nods while conference newcomers Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian each received one first place vote and were projected to finish third and fifth, respectively. Utah Valley claimed the No. 4 slot in the coaches’ poll to round out the top-five.  

Seattle U’s Darrion Trammel was selected as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches while the conference’s media named Utah Valley post Fardaws Aimaq its Preseason Player of the Year. 

Gipson earned his individual honor on the strength of an inceptive inaugural season in Purple and White. In April 2020, he became the first-ever Division I basketball signee in Tarleton sports history when he followed head coach Billy Gillispie from Ranger College to Stephenville. Following a standout 2020-21 campaign, Gipson was named to the All-WAC Newcomer and Honorable mention teams. He was also the first men’s or women’s player in school history to receive TicketSmarter WAC Player of the Week recognition after picking up the honor for March 1-7. 

Originally from DeSoto, Texas, Gipson projects as one of the elite offensive players in the conference this winter. He led Tarleton in scoring last season, averaging 15.3 points per game. Gipson was also tops for the Texans in assists per game (3.0), minutes per game (32.8) and free throw percentage (85.2). 

He shot 50 percent from behind the arc on 26-52 attempts to lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage last season. Gipson also ranked inside the top-10 in the WAC in half a dozen more major offensive statistical categories. He was second in free throw percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4), fourth in field goal percentage (54.9), fifth in minutes per game, sixth in points per game and seventh in assists per game. 

Gipson crafted a host of memorable performances in leading Tarleton to a 10-10 overall record and five conference wins.  

He dished out 14 assists in a win over McMurry on Feb. 9, which were the most in a single game by any WAC player last season and rank fourth in school history. In Tarleton’s WAC debut on Jan. 8 vs. eventual regular season and tournament champion Grand Canyon, Gipson proved to be the best offensive player on the floor. He lit up the Lopes to the tune of a career-high 30 points on the strength of 11 made field goals to nearly lead Tarleton to a home victory. Three weeks later, Gipson went off for a game-high 24 points behind a 10-10 mark at the charity stripe to lead Tarleton to its first true WAC win in school history in a 70-62 triumph at Utah Valley on Jan. 30. He closed the books on his junior year by averaging 20.5 points per outing in a road sweep of UTRGV on March 5-6 to claim his first set of WAC Player of the Week honors. 

Four of the Texans’ five victories last season came against teams projected to finish ahead of or tied with Tarleton in one-or-both polls. In addition to its road victories over the Wolverines and Vaqueros, the Tarleton earned the biggest win in its D1 era with a 64-55 home victory over New Mexico State on Feb. 27. 

The win at Utah Valley spawned a strong close to the 2020-21 campaign. Tarleton won seven of its last nine ball games, four of which came on the road vs. WAC opponents. A trio of players joined Gipson in earning All-Conference honors, including Freddy Hicks, who was named WAC Freshman of the Year. Fellow seniors Shakur Daniel and Tahj Small were named to the All-WAC Honorable Mention Team alongside Gipson. 

Both preseason polls are listed below. 

2021-22 WAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll 

Rank   Teams (1st-Place Votes)         Points 

1.         NM State (8)                           136 

2.         Grand Canyon (3)                  131 

3.         Stephen F. Austin (1)            106 

4.         Utah Valley                            103 

5.         Abilene Christian (1)             92 

6.         Seattle U                                90 

7.         Sam Houston                        86 

8.         California Baptist                  84 

T-9.      Tarleton                                48 

T-9.      UTRGV                                 48 

11.        Lamar                                  41 

12.        Dixie State                          35 

13.        Chicago State                     12 

2021-22 WAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll 

Rank      Teams 

1.            NM State   

2.            Stephen F. Austin  

3.            Grand Canyon 

4.            Abilene Christian  

5.            Utah Valley 

6.            California Baptist  

7.            Sam Houston  

8.            Seattle U  

9.            Tarleton    

10.          Lamar    

11.          UTRGV    

12.          Dixie State    

13.          Chicago State  

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