Leo chosen as #HLWBB Preseason Player of the Year, Vikings tabbed for second place

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Destiny Leo has been chosen as the 2023-24 Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year, the conference announced on Tuesday afternoon. The nod marked the second consecutive October that has seen the Cleveland State senior named the HL’s best player by its head coaches.

Leo, of course, followed up her earlier preseason selection by winning the more prestigious postseason honor as well, thanks to a 2022-23 campaign that saw the guard average 17.9 points per game. Additionally, the Willowick, OH native scored her 1,000th career point and continued her climb through the Vikings’ record books in numerous categories (mostly related to three-point shooting, free throw shooting, and scoring) while leading CSU to the program’s third-ever conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.

It’s the latest accolade in a career that features plenty of others, a list now including a rather redundant preseason nod to the all-conference first team as well. Leo is a two-time selection to the postseason all-HL first team, and she was named Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman along with earning a spot on the all-rookie team. At the end of 2022-23, she collected a pair of scholastic laurels, placements on the Horizon League’s All-Academic Team and the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team.

Joining Leo on the Horizon League’s preseason first team were Green Bay’s Bailey Butler, IUPUI’s Jazmyn Turner, Oakland’s Brooke Quarles-Daniels, and Purdue Fort Wayne’s Amellia Bromenschenkel. All five selections to the top team were included in the conference’s 2022-23 postseason awards.

Preseason All-League First Team

PlayerPos.SchoolHZRT Pick
Destiny LeoGCleveland StateFirst Team
Bailey ButlerGGreen BayFirst Team
Jazmyn TurnerFIUPUISecond Team
Brooke Quarles-DanielsGOaklandFirst Team
Amellia BromenschenkelGPurdue Fort WayneFirst Team

Preseason All-League Second Team

PlayerPos.SchoolHZRT Pick
Irene MuruaFDetroit MercyThird Team
Kendall NeadGMilwaukeeThird Team
Kailee DavisGNorthern KentuckySecond Team
Shayla SellersGPurdue Fort WayneThird Team
Malia MagestroGYoungstown StateSecond Team

Green Bay is runaway title pick

Leo’s Vikings squad didn’t fare quite as well in the voting, as Green Bay was the coaches’ unanimous selection to win the title in the 2023-24 Under Armour #HLWBB Preseason Poll, the first time that the storied Phoenix program has been the preseason favorite since 2019-20. Cleveland State, the reigning HL tournament champions, immediately followed the reigning regular season champions thanks to eight second place votes and three third place votes. Senior-laden Youngstown State took third, while ascendant Purdue Fort Wayne was also chosen to make a second straight trip downstate for the Horizon League semifinals. That top quartet was distantly clear of the other seven conference schools.

2023-24 Under Armour #HLWBB Preseason Poll

RankTeamPointsHZRT Pick
1.Green Bay (11)1211st
2.Cleveland State1072nd
3.Youngstown State953rd
4.Purdue Fort Wayne904th
5.Northern Kentucky63T-5th
6.Milwaukee59T-5th
7.Wright State548th
8.Oakland539th
9.IUPUI497th
10.Detroit Mercy2110th
11.Robert Morris1411th

College basketball’s regular season is set to begin on Monday, November 6th — though CSU’s opening game, at Bowling Green, is a day later — with conference play commencing on November 29th. The 2024 Horizon League championships will once again conclude at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, on March 11th and 12th.

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