FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – College Sports Madness named incoming men's basketball freshman Danny Cheek preseason Big Sky Freshman of the Year while three returning NAU players were named to the respective men's and women's All-Big Sky preseason teams. Men's basketball junior Gabe Rogers was named to the All-Big Sky second team and junior Stallon Saldivar was named to the fourth team, while NAU women's basketball junior Amy Patton earned All-Big Sky second team honors from the college sports website.
A 2011 graduate of Corona Del Mar High School, Cheek was rated the No. 18 overall recruit in the state of California and the No. 52 shooting guard overall in the nation in ESPN Recruiting Rankings. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a senior.
Rogers was an All-Big Sky second-team choice in 2011 and received the Coaches Award at the team banquet last season. The Houston, Texas, native averaged 13.1 points per game with 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Saldivar received the Most Improved Award at the team banquet last season after averaging 3.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. The Salt Lake City, Utah, native reset career single-game best in every statistical category and led the Big Sky in assists per game, ranking 31st in the nation.
Patton was an All-Big Sky second team selection in 2010-11 after being named Big Sky Freshman of the Year during her first season at NAU. She averaged a Big Sky-best 16.4 points per game last season and became just the 12th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points, becoming the first to do so in only two seasons. Patton was also fourth in the Big Sky with 2.0 steals per game and seventh with 1.8 3-pointers per game as a sophomore last season.
The NAU men's basketball team opens its season with an exhibition game against Western New Mexico on Nov. 2, while the women will tip their season on Nov. 4 with an exhibition against defending NAIA national champion Azusa Pacific.