LOGAN -- The Aggies would love to leave the WAC basketball world on top. And many think they just might do that.
Entering its eighth and final year in the Western Athletic Conference, Utah State men's basketball was tabbed to finish first in the league by the conference's media, while the coaches have picked the Aggies second, as the WAC's preseason polls were announced Wednesday by the conference office.
Additionally, USU junior guard Preston Medlin was selected as the preseason player of the year by both the media and the coaches and was named to the first-team preseason all-WAC teams.
Fellow junior, center Jarred Shaw was also chosen as the preseason newcomer of the year by the league's media.
The conference's coaches also selected a second-team preseason all-WAC list, which included Aggie senior forward Kyisean Reed.
"It's early. We're only 12 practices in and as always, the preseason picks are a surprise," said veteran USU coach Stew Morrill. "We finished fourth last year and scrambled around to do that, yet we're picked fairly high in the preseason polls. That's a positive in a lot of ways. It reflects on what's been done in the past and what our potential is.
"We have a lot of new players and a few returnees and we're just trying to mesh it all together. It's far from being meshed just yet."
This is the fourth year in a row that Utah State has been picked first by at least one of the voting groups, being tabbed first by the media last year, along with being selected first by both groups in 2010-11 and 2009-10.
The Aggies were selected as the preseason favorites by the media, receiving 232 points and 15 first-place votes. New Mexico State was picked second with 223 points and eight first-place votes.
In the coaches poll, NMSU edged USU by one point, with New Mexico State collecting five first-place votes and 77 points while Utah State also garnered five first-place votes and 76 points.
Medlin leads both the coaches and media preseason first-team all-WAC teams which consist of the same five players on both lists. He was joined by Denver junior forward Chris Udofia and Idaho senior center Kyle Barone also earned spots on the preseason first team.
Louisiana Tech sophomore guard Raheem Appleby and New Mexico State sophomore guard Daniel Mullings round out the first-team selections.
"It's a great honor. Obviously it was really what happened at the end of last season that got me this honor. Hopefully I can carry that over to the season and have a good year," Medlin said. "It's an honor, but because of what happened last year. This is a new team, a new season, with a record of 0-0.
"It doesn't really matter to some extent. It's nice to have the honor, but it's all about what you do in the season."
Utah State returns three starters among five lettermen from last year's team that finished the season with a 21-16 record, advancing to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Aggies open the 2012-13 season on Friday in an exhibition game against Grand Canyon at 7 p.m.