Just two years ago, Jason Preston was an unknown, unheralded, and nearly completely un-recruited member of Ohio’s 2018 basketball recruiting class.
Today, Preston — a 6-4 guard out of Orlando, Fla. — is one of the best players in the Mid-American Conference.
Preston was one of three Bobcats to earn a spot on the 2020 All-Mid-American Conference teams, the league announced Wednesday morning. In a vote conducted by the league’s head coaches, Preston landed on the All-MAC Second Team, sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas was awarded a Third Team All-MAC spot, and freshman guard Lunden McDay was placed on the MAC All-Freshmen Team.
In voting done by the league’s head coaches, and media members, Akron’s John Groce was named the MAC Coach of the Year. Zips’ guard Loren Cristian Jackson was tabbed the MAC Player of the Year. Ball State guard Jarron Coleman was named the league’s Freshman of the Year.
Buffalo’s Davonta Jordan, and Ronaldo Segu, were named the MAC’s Defensive Player and Sixth Player of the Year, respectively.
It’s been a meteoric rise for Preston, who landed on the MAC’s All-Freshman Team a year ago. Preston led Ohio in scoring (16.8 points), was third in rebounds (6.4) and led the MAC in assists (7.4). Preston shot 51.5 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 72.5 percent from the free throw line.
Preston led the MAC, and the nation, in total assists. He led the MAC in scoring and assist-to-turnover margin, finished fifth in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage and first in minutes played. Preston was named the MAC East Player of the Week five times this season, most for any player in the division.
Vander Plas was the 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year, and followed up with a strong second season. He led Ohio in rebounding (6.9) and was second on the team in scoring (15.7), and third in assists (2.8).
It’s the first appearance on the All-MAC teams for both Preston and Vander Plas.
McDay, a 6-3 guard from Akron, gave Ohio at least one player on the All-Freshman squad for a third straight season. McDay played in 31 games, made 29 starts and averaged 8.2 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent from he field. During conference play, McDay shot a team-best 45.0 percent from 3-point range.
Ohio (17-15), the No. 8 seed in the MAC Tournament, continues postseason play on Thursday in the MAC tourney quarterfinals. OU will face No. 1 seed Akron (24-7) at 12 p.m. inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
2020 MAC Men’s Basketball
MAC Player of the Year — Loren Cristian Jackson, Akron
MAC Coach of the Year — John Groce, Akron
MAC Freshman of the Year — Jarron Coleman, Ball St.
MAC Defensive Player of the Year — Davonta Jordan, Buffalo
MAC Sixth Player of the Year — Ronaldo Segu, Buffalo
MAC Basketball All-MAC First Team
Loren Cristian Jackson (Akron), Eugene German (NIU), Jayvon Graves (Buffalo), Tahjai Teague (Ball St.), and Justin Turner (Bowling Green).
All-MAC Second Team
Tyler Cheese (Akron), Marreon Jackson (Toledo), Daeqwon Plowden (Bowling Green), Jason Preston (Ohio), and Antonio Williams (Kent St.).
All-MAC Third Team
Ishmael El-Amin (Ball St.), Brandon Johnson (WMU), Luke Knapke (Toledo), Ben Vander Plas (Ohio), and Xeyrius Williams (Akron).
All-MAC Honorable Mention
David DiLeo (CMU), Michael Flowers (WMU), Willie Jackson (Toledo), Danny Pippen (Kent St.) and Boubacar Toure (EMU).
MAC All-Defensive Team
Channel Banks (Akron), Davonta Jordan (Buffalo), Tahjai Teague (Ball St.), Boubacar Toure (EMU) and Antonio Williams (Kent St.).
MAC All-Freshman Team
Jarron Coleman (Ball St.), Dae Dae Grant (Miami), Lunden McDay (Ohio), Keshaun Saunders (Toledo), and Titus Wright (WMU).