Anna Petrakova Sole Women's Pick (All-time Sun Belt Teams)
October 25, 2005 -
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Sun Belt Conference used the occasion of its basketball media day Monday to formally announce its all-time men's and women's basketball teams, spanning the 30-year history of the league.
The teams were part of the league's continuing anniversary celebration which will include all-time teams in each of the league's 19 sports.
But don't look for a lot of University of Louisiana representation on the team. There were no men's picks from the Ragin' Cajun program, and only just-graduated Anna Petrakova was named from the UL women's program.
The league anniversary football team announced in August included players who never played in the Sun Belt, since the league did not introduce football until the 2001 season.
In contrast, the basketball teams announced Monday included only players who actually participated in Sun Belt games.
Since UL did not become part of the Sun Belt until 1991 when the league consolidated with the American South Conference, that eliminated many potential UL selections such as Dwight "Bo" Lamar (1969-73), Andrew Toney (1976-80) and Kim Perrot (1986-90), the school's top two all-time men's scorers and the all-time women's scorer.
The most glaring omission among former Cajun stars in the Sun Belt era was guard Michael Allen, who averaged 20.9 and 22.7 points in his final two seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94. Allen was a two-time all-conference pick and was the league's Player of the Year in 1994 when he led the Cajuns to a 22-8 record, the league tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Southeast Regional.
"Michael Allen was an incredible player," said Cajun coach Robert Lee, who was head coach at Opelousas High during Allen's UL career. "He was the type player who could do so many things and made it look easy."
A 26-member media panel made the selections, with the team including 21 NBA draft picks, 42 All-Americans (25 men, 17 women) and 34 Sun Belt Players of the Year (20 men, 14 women).
Petrakova, a native of Moscow, Russia, who moved to Baton Rouge during her senior year in high school, was a two-time All-Sun Belt pick (2004-05) and was the league's Player of the Year as a junior and on last spring's all-tournament team. She ranks as UL's number four career scorer, number two rebounder and all-time leading shot blocker.
"She was just a tremendous all-around player," said UL women's coach J. Kelley Hall. "You look at the numbers and she's in every offensive category there is. She was a joy and a delight to coach, and she deserves to be on that team."
TV schedule announced
UL's men's team will make at least four and possibly five national and regional television appearances during the 2005-06 season, and the women's squad will be featured in one broadcast.
All of the scheduled men's TV contests will be on the road, including the Dec. 27 game at LSU (Cox Sports), the Jan. 7 game at Denver (Fox Sports Net), the Jan. 26 game at Western Kentucky (ESPN2) and the Feb. 25 Arkansas-Little Rock game (ESPN Plus). UL's Feb. 18 home game in ESPN's Bracket Buster Saturday could be selected for one of that network's 10 televised games that day.
The UL women's team will be featured in a Jan. 5 home game on ESPN Plus when the Cajuns welcome Denver.
In all, the first conference television schedule released Monday includes 22 television appearances (15 men and seven women) including the March 7 league tournament championship games.
SOME LIKE MIKE: The league coaches nominated players from their own squads for the preseason all-league team prior to the voting, and UL coach Robert Lee nominated Michael Southall to the squad despite his two years of absence from the program.
Lee nominated returnees Dwayne Mitchell and Chris Cameron, who both made the league squad, along with Southall and newcomer Ed Turner.
Apparently, some of the league coaches felt Southall's extended down time wasn't that important. At least one league coach had Southall among his first-team selections, and two others put him among second-team picks.
NEW LOCATION: The Sun Belt Conference's Basketball Media Days, currently in progress here at Middle Tennessee, are being held outside New Orleans for the first time since the current format was inaugurated.
League associate commissioner Todd Stewart said Monday the decision to go to the site of the postseason tournament for media days was made in June, and had nothing to do with New Orleans being basically unavailable due to Hurricane Katrina.
"We made the call in June," he said. "We thought it would be an opportunity to increase interest in the tournament and give the media a preview of what to expect when they come in March."
Middle Tennessee will host the league tournament March 2-7 at the under-renovation Murphy Center, an 11,520-seat facility. Today's press conferences and interview sessions will be held on the refurbished basketball floor, following Monday evening activities at the adjacent and brand-new MTSU Hall of Fame building.
"All the renovations aren't done yet," said MT coach Kermit Davis, "but we think it's important to show those that are complete. We're going to set up everything on the floor in a game-like situation so people can get a feel of how the tournament will be at the end of the season."
Next season's media day event will be held in Lafayette, with UL hosting the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Basketball Tournament March 2-6 at the Cajundome.
All-Time Sun Belt
men's basketball team
Derek Fisher, UALR, 1992-96; Muntrelle Dobbins, UALR, 1993-97; Chico Fletcher, ASU, 1997-2000; Oliver Robinson, UAB, 1978-82; Steve Mitchell, UAB, 1982-86; Jerome Mincey, UAB, 1982-86; James Ray, Jacksonville, 1977-80; Otis Smith, Jacksonville, 1983-86; Gerrod Henderson, La. Tech, 1999-2002; Lonnie Cooper, La. Tech, 1996-99; P. J. Brown, La. Tech, 1989-92; Tommy Gunn, MTSU, 2001-04; Eric Channing, New Mexico State, 2000-02; Wayne Cooper, UNO, 1974-78; Ervin Johnson, UNO, 1989-93; Hector Romero, UNO, 2001-03; Cedric Maxwell, UNC Charlotte, 1974-77; Chad Kinch, UNC Charlotte, 1977-80; Byron Dinkins, UNC Charlotte, 1986-89; Kenny Gattison, Old Dominion, 1983-86; Chris Gatling, Old Dominion, 1988-91; Terry Catledge, USA, 1983-85; Jeff Hodge, USA, 1986-89; Ed Rains, USA, 1978-81; Rory White, USA, 1978-82; Tellis Frank, WKU, 1984-87; Kannard Johnson, WKU, 1984-87; Chris Marcus, WKU, 2000-02; Darnell Mee, WKU, 1991-93; Chris Robinson, WKU, 1993-96.