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NSU's Hicks, West are first-team Preseason All-Southland picks

NATCHITOCHES - Northwestern State standouts DeQuan Hicks and Jalan West were included on the five-man first-team Preseason All-Southland Conference Basketball Team announced Wednesday by the league office.

NATCHITOCHES - Northwestern State standouts DeQuan Hicks and Jalan West were included on the five-man first-team Preseason All-Southland Conference Basketball Team announced Wednesday by the league office.

Ten players from the 14-team conference were named preseason all-conference in voting by the head coaches of Southland squads. Seven schools were represented, headed by NSU, Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State with two selections each.

Hicks, a 6-7 forward from Racine, Wis., and a product of New Mexico Junior College, was the Southland's Newcomer of the Year and won the same honor on the All-Louisiana Team last spring. West, a 5-10 point guard from Bossier City and Bossier High School, won Southland Freshman of the Year accolades and earned one of five spots on the Southland's All-Defensive Team.

The Demons represented the Southland in the NCAA Tournament last season after finishing second, by one game, to SFA in the regular season race. The teams played three times last year, including in the Southland Tournament Finals, with NSU winning two. Each game went down to the final 10 seconds and the combined margin of victory was only seven points.

Eleven letterwinners return from the Demons' 23-9 team in 2012-13, along with Tyler Washington, who sat out last year recovering from knee surgery.

A second-team All-Southland choice at the end of the regular season, Hicks led the Demons last year with 14.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He ranked 11th in NCAA statistics with his 58.3 shooting percentage, and was second nationally in points per 40 minutes with a projected 28.3 average if he played every minute in a game.

After averaging 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in two games in the Southland Tournament, he was a lock for the all-tournament team after his game-clinching steal with two seconds to play gave the Demons their third tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth.

West averaged 10.2 points and 5.2 assists per game. He was also a member of the league's inaugural all-defensive team and was an honorable mention all-conference selection. He led the conference in steals (2.3), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.75), was third in assists (5.2) and eighth in 3-pointers per game (1.6).

West ranked 11th in the NCAA in assist to turnover ratio, 17th in steals per game and 55th in assists per game. He sank 83.6 percent of his free throws, including 90 percent in the last two months of the season. West finished one steal shy of the Demons' single-season record of 76.

He is the only sophomore on the preseason all-conference team.

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