STORRS, Conn. – The UConn men’s basketball team, defending American Athletic Conference champion, was voted to finish second in the American Preseason Poll as announced by the league at Media Day on Monday morning in Philadelphia.
Freshman Alterique Gilbert (Richmond, Va.) became the third-straight Husky to be selected as American Preseason Rookie of the Year, following in the footsteps of Daniel Hamilton (2014) and Jalen Adams (2015). Speaking of Adams, he earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team, his second-straight preseason honor from the league.
Cincinnati (95 points) grabbed the top spot in the poll, edging the Huskies (94) by just one first-place vote and one point overall. SMU (76), Houston (75) and Memphis (63) round-out the top five in the conference poll.
It is the second consecutive season that the Huskies have been tabbed to place second in The American. However, they defied the poll in 2015-16 by making a memorable run through the conference tournament, resulting in UConn’s first American Athletic Conference title.
The Huskies, who open play on Sunday in an exhibition against New Haven at the XL Center, advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament in 2015-16. UConn’s final record was 25-11 (11-7 American).
Gilbert, a McDonald’s All-American from Miller Grove High School (Lithonia, Ga.), is one of five freshmen to join the Huskies this season – the largest group of first-year players since head coach Kevin Ollie took the helm in 2012.
The freshman guard was a consensus Top 30 recruit coming out of high school and was selected Georgia Gatorade State Player of the Year in 2015-16. Gilbert will play with Adams in the UConn backcourt, forming a dynamic 1-2 punch.
Adams is coming off a solid rookie season, averaging 7.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 36 games. It was his miraculous three-quarter court shot in the American quarterfinals against Cincinnati in the third overtime to tie the game in an eventual four-overtime win for the Huskies.
Tip-off against the Chargers on Sunday is at 1 p.m. (ET). Tickets for the game and for the season can be found HERE.
American Athletic Conference Preseason results:
Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Cincinnati (6) 95
2. UConn (5) 94
3. SMU 76
4. Houston 75
5. Memphis 63
6. Temple 56
7. East Carolina 39
8. UCF 37
9. Tulsa 34
10. USF 25
11. Tulane 11
Preseason Individual Honors
Co-Players of the Year: Troy Caupain (Cincinnati) and Dedric Lawson (Memphis)
Rookie of the Year: Alterique Gilbert (UConn)
All-Conference First Team
Troy Caupain, G, Cincinnati
Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati
Dedric Lawson, G/F, Memphis
Ben Moore, F, SMU
Damyean Dotson, G, Houston
Shake Milton, G, SMU
Jalen Adams, G, UConn
Jahmal McMurray, G, USF
Rob Gray, Jr., G, Houston
B.J. Tyson, G, East Carolina