Sept. 24, 2008
ATHENS, Ohio -
Ohio University senior forward Jerome Tillman was named Preseason Mid-American Conference Player of the Year on Wednesday when Blue Ribbon announced its forecast of the league for the 2008-09 season.
The league's top returning rebounder after averaging better than seven boards per game last season, Tillman (Beavercreek, Ohio) was also named to the five-player Preseason All-MAC squad. He earned his second-straight all-conference honor in 2007-08 after posting averages of 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and led the Bobcats to their first postseason win since 1995 with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a first-round victory over Brown in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.
Tillman's 13.3 points per game from a year ago also rank sixth overall among returning scorers in the MAC, as well as fifth among returning seniors and second among returning forwards. He concluded the 2007-08 campaign with double-doubles in three of his last four outings, including both CBI contests, to bring his career total to 18, the fifth-most by an Ohio player since 1990.
With Tillman as its anchor, the Bobcats' frontcourt was also noted by Blue Ribbon as the top unit in the MAC, finishing ahead of Miami and Eastern Michigan in that category. Both talented and deep, Ohio's frontcourt returns five letterwinners - Tillman, senior forward Justin Orr (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior forward Asown Sayles (McKeesport, Pa.), junior center Kenneth van Kempen (Weert, The Netherlands) and sophomore forward DeVaughn Washington (Virginia Beach, Va.) - and a pair of starters - Tillman and Orr - in 2008-09.
The Bobcats will also receive a boost in the frontcourt this season from a pair of redshirt freshmen, as center Zach Nagtzaam (Ayr, Ontario) and forward Maurice Pearson (Silver Spring, Md.) will suit up this season after sitting out their first year in Athens.
Blue Ribbon also selected Ohio to finish third in the league's East Division, behind projected division winner Miami and runner-up Kent State.
The Bobcats will kick off the 2008-09 regular season at 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 16, when William & Mary pays a visit to the Convocation Center for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Fans first chances to see Ohio and first-year head coach John Groce take the court will be on Nov. 1 and Nov. 9, when the Bobcats take on Wooster and Mercyhurst, respectively, in exhibition games that are both slated for 2 p.m. ET tip-offs.
2008-09 BLUE RIBBON MAC FORECAST
2. Kent State
4. Bowling Green
1. Eastern Michigan
2. Western Michigan
3. Central Michigan
4. Ball State
6. Northern Illinois
2008-09 Blue Ribbon Preseason MAC Player of the Year
Jerome Tillman, Sr., F, Ohio
2008-09 Blue Ribbon Preseason All-MAC Team
David Kool, Jr., G, Western Michigan
Al Fisher, Sr., G, Kent State
Carlos Medlock, Sr., G, Eastern Michigan
Jerome Tillman, Sr., F, Ohio
Michael Bramos, Jr., F, Miami