NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – One year after being picked to finish last in the OVC, the Tennessee State Tigers have been picked to finish second by the preseason OVC poll.
The Tigers, who are coming off their third 20 win season in school history, are one of only two OVC teams, along with Belmont, to have two players on the preseason All-Conference Squad.
Redshirt senior Tahjere McCall is one of them and was the reigning conference defensive MVP a year ago. He averaged 14.6 points per game (2nd on the team in scoring) last year and set a school record with 72 steals.
Redshirt senior Wayne Martin also cracks the All-OVC squad as TSU’s third leading scorer a year ago with over 11 points per game and a team high 9.1 rebounds per game. Martin recorded 10 double-doubles a year ago and should anchor the Tigers front court.
While all the accolades are deserved, TSU head coach Dana Ford says his team can’t get hung up on what they did a year ago and have to forget about the 20 wins earned from guys who have graduated from the program.
“Guys have to understand that they’re not responsible for where the program is right now. The guys that left are and they have to step in and do their job and hopefully they can do it just as good if not better,” said Ford.
“So, last year’s team put in a lot of work and earned that,” explained Tahjere McCall, senior guard. “We went from being picked last to second, but if you’re not first, you’re last, Coach Ford always says. So, we gotta put in work to be first. We don’t care about second.”
The Tigers have an exhibition game against Fisk University before opening the season Nov.11 against UC Davis.