ASHLAND — Southern Oregon sophomore Eric Thompson has been chosen the Cascade Collegiate Conference men's basketball preseason player of the year in voting by the conference coaches.
Thompson, from Roseburg, set the school freshman scoring record last year while averaging 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and received honorable mention in NAIA All-American voting.
He scored 20 or more points 12 times and reached the 30-point barrier on five occasions. He joined the Raiders last season after spending four years in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league system as a pitcher.
"Eric is obviously very talented and has a pretty unique skill set for a big man at our level," SOU head coach Brian McDermott said. "The scary thing is, after scraping the rust off his basketball game last season, Eric comes back this year much improved. The game has slowed down for him and he has a much better understanding of how to use his abilities within our concepts. We see very few limits to his impact this year."
Two other SOU players received preseason recognition. Returner Kyle Tedder of Marshfield High in Coos Bay, and newcomer David Sturner of Philomath made the 15-player all-conference list.
Tedder started 23 games last season as a sophomore and averaged 10.5 points while ranking second on the team with 53 assists and leading the team with 35 steals.
Sturner comes to SOU after spending two seasons at Oregon State, where he redshirted last season.
Southern Oregon was one of four programs with multiple players on the all-conference team.
The Raiders play their annual alumni game Saturday at Bob Riehm Arena, with two alumni teams playing at noon and the current squad facing the alumni at 2 p.m.
GIDA SELECTED — A pair of Southern Oregon women's basketball newcomers, including former Ashland High standout Allison Gida, have been selected to the preseason all-Cascade Collegiate Conference team in a poll of head coaches.
Gida and another junior transfer, Melissa Sweat of Bakersfield, Calif., were among 15 players chosen. They were two of three conference newcomers so honored.
Gida returns to her hometown after two seasons at Utah. She appeared in 12 games last season for the Utes and totaled 12 points with eight rebounds.
In high school, she was first-team all-state two-time Southern Sky Conference player of the year (2008 and '10). As a senior, she averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 6.0 steals per game and helped lead the Grizzlies to fifth place at the state tournament.
Sweat spent the last two seasons at San Diego State and helped the Aztecs finish 25-7 last season. She averaged 11.9 minutes per game while appearing in 27 contests as a sophomore, totaling 97 points, 41 rebounds and 13 steals. As a freshman, she appeared in all 29 games and had 114 points and 43 rebounds.
College of Idaho's Felicity Jones was voted preseason player of the year after earning honorable-mention NAIA All-American honors last season.
The Raiders play their annual alumni game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bob Riehm Arena.
ON SALE — Season tickets for the 2012-13 Southern Oregon basketball seasons are on sale.
The SOU women's and men's teams have 18 home dates, including a pair of tournaments.
Season tickets cost $135 for reserved (seat back) and $90 for general admission.
The tickets are good for both men's and women's games.
To order, visit www.souraiders.com or call 541-552-6772.