Work in Sports
Auburn's Porter heads preseason team
Posted: Wednesday November 10, 1999 11:48 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Chris Porter, the junior college transfer who led Auburn to its highest ranking ever, was the leading vote-getter Wednesday on The Associated Press' preseason All-America team.
The 6-foot-7 forward was listed on 53 of 65 ballots from a 65-member media panel, seven more than DePaul sophomore swingman Quentin Richardson.
Two senior guards from the Big Ten who led their teams to the Final Four last season were next. Scoonie Penn of Ohio State and Mateen Cleaves of Michigan State each received 44 votes.
Maryland junior forward Terence Morris was fifth in the voting with 35.
Junior guard Khalid El-Amin of Connecticut was the next-highest vote-getter with 23 and was followed by junior center Chris Mihm of Texas, 22; junior swingman Michael Redd of Ohio State, 13; senior center Kenyon Martin of Cincinnati, 12; and senior forward Mark Madsen of Stanford, 10.
With Porter averaging 16.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and a highlight-reel dunk per game, Auburn got as high as No. 2 in the rankings during a 29-4 season. He was selected player of the year in the Southeastern Conference and was a second-team All-America.
Tigers coach Cliff Ellis had Porter working on his outside shot in the offseason.
"We know he can dunk, we know he can play within 8, 10 feet, we know his game is strong around the rim," Ellis said. "But we want to stretch out his range."
Richardson was a consensus freshman of the year last season as he led the Blue Devils to an 18-13 record and NIT berth. He averaged 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds and made a lot of people in Chicago happy when he decided to return for his sophomore season.
Penn was given a lot of credit for taking the Buckeyes from a 1-15 conference record to a 27-9 season and the school's first Final Four appearance since 1968. He averaged 16.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists and was chosen a third-team All-America.
Cleaves was selected to the preseason All-America team last year, and he is the only returning postseason All-America. The start of his senior season will be pushed back at least until mid-December because of a stress fracture in his foot.
With a healthy Cleaves, the Spartans would have probably been a runaway choice for preseason No. 1, but they're still a Big Ten favorite because he will be back for the conference schedule.
Cleaves averaged 11.7 points and 7.2 assists in leading Michigan State to its first Final Four appearance since Magic Johnson led the Spartans to the title in 1979.
Morris will be the focus of the Maryland offense this season with the departure of Steve Francis to the NBA. The 6-9 forward averaged 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field as the Terrapins were ranked in the Top 5 for most of last season.
The other members of last year's preseason All-America team were Richard Hamilton of Connecticut, Elton Brand of Duke, Lee Nailon of Texas Christian and Andre Miller of Utah.