UIC junior guards Marcus Ottey (Ajax, Ontario, Canada/Spire Academy) and Tarkus Ferguson (Belleville, Ill./Althoff Catholic) have been voted to the All-Horizon League Preseason First and Second Team, respectively. The squads are selected by the League’s head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media.
After emerging as a prolific scorer for UIC during conference play last season, Ottey earned a nod on the All-Horizon League Preseason First Team. He is joined by Tyree Appleby (Cleveland State), Sandy Cohen III (Green Bay), Loudon Love (Wright State) and Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Drew McDonald (Northern Kentucky).
Ottey led the Flames with 14.6 points per game during 18 Horizon League games as a sophomore. He did so while leading the squad and ranking eighth in the conference with a field-goal percentage of 53.1 percent. In fact, he was the only player in the Horizon League to rank in the top 10 in field-goal, free-throw and 3-point percentage last season. He shot 46.3 percent from beyond the arc, second only to teammate Godwin Boahen, and 84.1 percent from the charity stripe, sixth-best in the League.
The junior netted double figures in the scoring column 27 times last season and posted at least 20 points on five occasions. He was named to the All-Tournament Team for theCollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) after averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game while guiding the Flames to the championship game. Ottey’s 21 points in just the second half of the title contest at Northern Colorado helped UIC cut a 16-point deficit to one with just over two minutes to play before being ultimately edged, 76-71.
Ferguson, whose return to the lineup after missing nine games with an injury last season coincided with the team winning 12 of its next 14 games, was named to the All-Horizon League Preseason Second Team. Other members of that group include: Kameron Hankerson(Green Bay), Jalen Tate (Northern Kentucky), Mark Hughes (Wright State) and Naz Bohannon(Youngstown State).
Ferguson led the Horizon League in assists during conference play for the second time in as many seasons during the 2017-18 campaign with 5.9 helpers per contest. In all games, he joined Ottey and Dikembe Dixson as one of three UIC players to average at least 10 points per game, and he ranked third on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game. He increased that number to 6.0 in League play. Ferguson tied for the team lead with four double-doubles, despite playing in nine fewer games than most of his teammates.
Like Ottey, Ferguson earned a spot on the CIT’s All-Tournament Team in March. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists with two double-doubles in UIC’s four-game run. Ferguson shot over 90 percent (20-of-22) from the free-throw line during the tournament and he buried a career-high five 3-pointers in a quarterfinal victory at Austin Peay on March 21.
In addition to the All-Horizon League teams, the conference’s preseason poll was unveiled. The Flames picked up four first-place votes and landed third overall behind defending conference champion Wright State and the defending regular-season winner Northern Kentucky.
UIC finished third in the 2017-18 standings with a record of 12-6. It marked the program’s best finish since 2004 and the sixth top-three finish since joining the conference in 1994. After dropping their first two conference contests a year ago, the Flames went on to rip off wins in 12 of their next 14 games. In that span UIC won seven consecutive road games against Horizon League foes, as well.
The Flames will soon begin the 2018-19 season by welcoming Illinois Wesleyan to the UIC Pavilion for an exhibition game at 7 p.m. Nov. 1. The regular season opens with road tests at Notre Dame (Nov. 6), Radford (Nov. 9) and Duquesne (Nov. 12) before the home opener against William & Mary Nov. 15. Season tickets are on sale now; please call 312-413-UIC1 (8421) or click here for more information.