Warrick beats out Enaruna, Calvin for Player of the Year
Marques Warrick is the HoriZone Roundtable staff’s pick for Horizon League Player of the Year after leading Northern Kentucky to a 14-6 record in Horizon League play and an NCAA Tournament automatic berth. In the wake of Antoine Davis’ graduation, the voting near the top of the First Team was as close as it’s been in years. In the end Warrick got the nod over Cleveland State’s Tristan Enaruna and Wright State’s Trey Calvin, with B.J. Freeman finishing within striking distance and Trey Townsend rounding out the first team.
The last of Youngstown State’s 2023 All-League performers, Brandon Rush led the way on our Second Team. He’s joined by fellow 2023 picks Sam Vinson, Jlynn Counter and Brandon Noel as well as Green Bay newcomer Noah Reynolds.
Our writers and podcast staff see Ziggy Reid and Brett Thompson following in the footsteps of Rush, Adrian Nelson and Malek Green (according to the picks that matter, anyway) as All-League performers in their first season after transferring to Youngstown. The newcomers are joined on our third team by Detroit’s Jayden Stone, Markeith Browning of Milwaukee, and Tae Williams from Cleveland State.
Editor’s Note: Due to the current uncertainty surrounding Tanner Holden’s eligibility, he was removed from consideration.
HoriZone Roundtable Preseason All-League Teams:
|First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|Marques Warrick, G, NKU*||Brandon Rush, G, YSU||Ziggy Reid, F, YSU|
|Tristan Enaruna, F, CSU||Sam Vinson, G, NKU||Jayden Stone, G, Detroit Mercy|
|Trey Calvin, G, WSU||Noah Reynolds, G, GB||Markeith Browning, G, Milwaukee|
|B.J. Freeman, G, Milwaukee||Jlynn Counter, G, IUPUI||Tae Williams, G, CSU|
|Trey Townsend, F, Oakland||Brandon Noel, C, WSU||Brett Thompson, G, YSU|
Marques Warrick enters his senior season as a three-time All-League selection and the clear leader of a Northern Kentucky team that finished one game out of first place in the 2023 Horizon League regular season before winning the league tournament and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Warrick
Tristan Enaruna helped usher in a successful first season of the Daniyal Robinson era, leading Cleveland State with 15.6 points and 6.5 points per game and earning First Team All-League honors as the team finished in the three-way tie for second in league play. In his second season after following Robinson from Iowa State, our staff sees Enaruna taking it to the next level and contending for Player of the Year while keeping CSU toward the top of the standings despite several key departures.
Trey Calvin is projected to retain the First Team All-Horizon League status he earned last season when he averaged 20.3 points and 3.7 assists per game for Wright State. Despite solid players like Tim Finke and Amari Davis departing, our staff sees Calvin and Wright State putting up another relatively competitive season, the stellar scoring guard makes sense on the First Team.
B.J. Freeman was the biggest standout in Milwaukee’s dramatic 2023 turnaround, earning Second Team All-League honors while finishing the season averaging 18.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He helped the Panthers into the second place tie with Northern Kentucky and Cleveland State. With three of last year’s First Team members gone it’s easy to see Freeman on the first team this season, especially if Milwaukee finishes toward the top of the standings.
Trey Townsend’s 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game at Oakland in 2023 hold up well with the rest of our First Team despite sharing the spotlight with a near-20 point per game scorer in Jalen Moore. Townsend already showed what he can do as the Golden Grizzlies’ primary scorer, averaging 18.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game at the end of a non-conference schedule that largely featured much better teams than anything he’ll face in league play while Jalen Moore was dealing with injuries. It’s very easy to see the stat-stuffing forward finishing the year First Team All-League, especially if Oakland continues its trend of finishing in the top half of the league.
Brandon Rush was one of our four All-League picks from Youngstown State, and with the others all seeing their college careers wrap up it should be no surprise that our staff expects him to return to the All-League team in 2024. Rush averaged 13.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game as part of a loaded Youngstown State lineup last year. While YSU came away as the projected contender that arguably did the best in the transfer portal (pending the Holden decision), Rush is still projected to be the team’s go-to scoring guard this year.
Sam Vinson navigated early health issues to earn a Third Team All-League nod last year, and is expected to have a larger role offensively thanks to the departures of Trevon Faulkner and Xavier Rhodes. Vinson averaged 11.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for the Norse last year, but more impressively averaged 2.4 steals per game to help him earn Horizon League All-Defensive Team honors. If the all-around standout improves his scoring and the Norse stay contenders, Vinson should repeat as an All-League performer.
Noah Reynolds is one of several players set to lighten my offseason workload as he gets ready to take the court for Green Bay this season. There won’t be a “disrespected newcomers” article because overall our writers were mostly very respectful to them, and for good reason as the league shifts to one where newcomers are playing increasingly important roles. Reynolds averaged 14.5 points per game at Wyoming last season playing against a conference schedule that featured 4 NCAA Tournament teams. It’s easy to see those numbers improving against Horizon League competition, and easier to see Green Bay making a big jump from last seasons’s distant 10th place finish to a spot where a standout is a shoo-in for an All-League spot.
Jlynn Counter — like fellow second-year Horizon League players Tristan Enaruna and B.J. Freeman above him — took a bit of time to figure out his role before clearly establishing himself as his team’s leader in 2023. By the end of the year, Counter was pacing the Jaguars with 14.5 points and 3.3 assists per game. With IUPUI experiencing little roster turnover from a very young team this offseason, our staff sees improvement on the way. If it happens, higher individual honors are likely for Counter.
Brandon Noel had his freshman season at Wright State drastically delayed thanks to injury issues, but when it finally arrived it was something to see. The latest entry into Scott Nagy’s Redshirt Freshman Big Man Factory averaged 13.0 points and 8.7 rebounds a season ago on his way to Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-League recognition. With a full season under his belt and other players that were likely to take touches out of his way, Noel could be in for an even better sophomore year.
Ziggy Reid is the second newcomer and the second Youngstown State Penguin to catch our staff’s attention. Reid will be a key to replacing last year’s standout bigs Adrian Nelson and Malek Green, and fortunately he shares one key honor with both of them. Reid joins YSU after earning All-Conference honors last year, where he averaged 14.5 points per game at Merrimack.
Jayden Stone was off to a hot start at Detroit Mercy last year before his season came to an abrupt end. He averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 13 games for the Titans. If he could’ve made it through the season, those numbers likely would’ve put him into contention for an All-League spot last year. With the massive void left by Antoine Davis’ departure, Stone will have the chance to put up significantly better counting stats this season.
Markeith Browning was arguably the biggest beneficiary of Bart Lundy taking over at Milwaukee, going from a bench player on a bad team to a reliable starter on both ends for a Horizon League contender. Browning averaged 9.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on a roster full of players trying to figure out their roles. As a returning starter on a team that once again has a healthy dose of newcomer wings, our staff sees Browning taking on a bigger role for the Panthers.
Tae Williams is in a similar spot at Cleveland State as Browning at Milwaukee, a secondary option on one of last year’s top contenders that was led by a first-year Horizon League coach. Williams averaged 11.1 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Vikings, and he’ll be asked to pick up some of the slack following key departures. Deshon Parker, Spider Johnson, and Yahel Hill were three of CSU’s top six scorers last season and all ran out of eligibility. For Cleveland State to live up to our expectations this year, Williams might need to be an All-League performer.
Brett Thompson rounds out our All-League picks in his first year at Youngstown State. While it’s hard to say he’ll be tasked with replacing Dwayne Cohill, our staff sees him shouldering much of the load that Cohill’s departure leaves behind. Thompson averaged 12.3 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game for a Tennessee Tech team that finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference.