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Eastern basketball picked high in the Sky

The Eastern Washington men's basketball team is picked for a high finish in the Big Sky Conference.

Despite missing the postseason the last two years, the Eagles are picked to finish second by Big Sky Coaches and third by the media,the conference announced Thursday.

Defending champion Weber State is picked to repeat at the top. The coaches selected Eastern Washington second, followed by Northern Arizona and Sacramento State. Eastern Washington earned one first-place vote and 100 points. Northern Arizona garnered two first-place votes and 99 points. Sacramento State received a first-place vote and 90 points. It marked the first time the Hornets have received a first-place vote in a Big Sky men’s basketball preseason poll. Portland State was selected fifth with 80 points.




EWU to extend Hayford’s contract

Eastern Washington is in “agreement mode” on a new five-year contract for basketball coach Jim Hayford, athletic director Bill Chaves said Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s not finalized, but it’s going through the process,” confirmed Chaves, who said that the deal is both a reward and a key piece in building stability in a program that has known little since the Eagles’ move to Division I in 1983.

Since then, no Eastern coach has lasted longer than five years.

EWU’s Harvey named first-team all-Big Sky

Big Sky Conference scoring leader Tyler Harvey of Eastern Washington has been named a first-team all-star selection, the league announced Monday.

Harvey, a sophomore from Torrance, Calif., led the league in scoring and free-throw shooting while finishing among the nation's top 3-point shooters.

Harvey averaged 21.8 points, 89.7 percent at the free-throw line and made 109 3-point shots - second most in Big Sky history.

Eagle forward Venky Jois earned honorable mention honors.

Weber State guard/forward Davion Berry was named the conference's Most Valuable Player.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The college basketball season is closer than you think. On Wednesday, the Big Sky Conference released its men's preseason basketball poll. Here's my story with quotes from Eagle head coach Jim Hayford. On the football front, here's my feature on versatile tight end Zack Gehring, along with a partial transcript from our live chat. … This week it's homecoming at  sold-out Roos Field, the Eagles face Southern Utah's rugged defense.  …  Montana's offense is clicking thanks largely because of the return of quarterback Jordan Johnso, according to the Missoulilan. Speaking of the Griz - Eastern's opponent next week - their defense is very tough in the red zone lately; Here's the story from the Billings Gazette…. Montana State is at Weber State this weekend.

Parker Kelly interview

Eastern Washington guard Parker Kelly of Spokane talks about the upcoming basketball season after the Eages' first practice of the year, Oct. 1 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Venky Jois interview

Eastern Washington forward Venky Jois discusses the upcoming season following the Eagles' first practice, on Tuesday at Reese Court.

Game time for Zags, Eagles

Feels like it's been about eight weeks since I left the Pepsi Center in Denver following GU's loss to BYU in the NCAA Tournament. It's actually been nearly eight months and now the Bulldogs are 24 hours from opening the 2011-12 season when Eastern Washington visits the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Here's my short game preview that will run in Friday's S-R. For what it's worth, Gonzaga's game release lists projected starters as Stockton, Bell, Carter, Harris and Sacre. That would be my guess, but I would also guess there's going to be several starting lineups before Few and Co. settle on a first five and eventually a rotation.

The release also states that Guy Landry Edi played in the French Pro A League, which is the reason the NCAA ruled him ineligible for eight games, prior to enrolling at Gonzaga. The school is appealing the decision, but hasn't heard back from the NCAA.