UNLV is preseason pick for second in Mountain West

UNLV junior center Khem Birch was voted to the preseason all-Mountain West first team, and the Rebels were picked to finish in a second-place tie with Boise State, according to a basketball media poll released by the league.

New Mexico, which lost coach Steve Alford to UCLA, was tabbed the overwhelming favorite to repeat as conference champion. The Lobos received 23 of 24 first-place votes, with UNLV collecting the other.

Senior guard Kendall Williams of New Mexico was voted the preseason Player of the Year. He is joined on the six-player all-conference team by Birch, UNR senior guard Deonte Burton, Boise State junior guards Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks, and Lobos junior center Alex Kirk.

UNLV guard Kendall Smith, from Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif., was voted preseason Freshman of the Year.

San Diego State was picked to finish fourth, followed by Utah State, Colorado State, Wyoming, Fresno State, UNR, Air Force and San Jose State.

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