Bearcats picked to finish first in AAC, Clark, Washington and Evans picked for Preseason All-AAC Second Team
News broke from Philadelphia that the current version on the Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team was picked to win the AAC in the 2017-18 season, will this unit be able to bring the Bearcats their first AAC title? Honestly I feel this team has the talent to do it. What is scary is this team has a chance to be better than the team that won 30 games last season.
Gary Clark, Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans were picked to the Preseason All-Conference Second Team. I know I’m biased, but I don’t understand how not one Bearcat player wasn’t picked for First Team. Honestly, preseason means nothing, maybe it will give every player who feels slighted some extra energy to prove the doubters wrong and make the first team after the season is over.
This team has a chance to be really special and #BearcatNation needs to check them out any chance they get this season because you don’t want to miss out.
American Athletic Conference coaches predicted a first-place finish for the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team while honoring senior forwards Gary Clark (Clayton, N.C./Clayton HS) and Kyle Washington (Champlin, Minn./NC State) and junior guard/forward Jacob Evans (Baton Rouge, La./St. Michael the Archangel) each with second-team preseason accolades Monday at the league’s media day at the Airport Marriott.
Cincinnati received a league-high seven first-place votes and 116 points overall in the preseason poll to finish ahead of conference newcomer Wichita State, who gathered five first-place votes and 115 points overall. UCF (93 points) was tabbed third followed by SMU (91), UConn (79), Houston (72), Temple (68), Tulsa (52), Memphis (36), Tulane (30), ECU (24) and USF (16).
The Bearcats were the only team with three players receiving preseason accolades.
SMU guard Shake Milton was chosen as The American’s Preseason Player of the Year while UConn redshirt freshman guard Alterique Gilbert was selected as the AAC’s Preseason Rookie of the Year.
First-team selections went to Milton along with UConn guard Jalen Adams, Houston guard Rob Gray, Wichita State guard Landry Shamet and UCF guard B.J. Taylor.
Joining Clark, Washington and Evans among the second-team selections were Tulsa forward Junior Etou and UCF center Tacko Fall.
Clark averaged 10.8 points and 7.9 rebounds last season while earning selection to the American Championship All-Tournament team. He ranked among the league leaders in field goal percentage (fourth at .529), rebounds (fourth at 7.9), blocks (tied for ninth at 1.2) and scoring (26th at 10.8).
Clark enters the 2017-18 campaign ranked third in the nation among returning players with 819 career rebounds. He needs two points to join UC’s 1,000-point club and is on pace to finish his career ranked among the top five players in school history for rebounds and blocks.
Washington averaged 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds during the 2016-17 season, his first on the floor as a Bearcat after transferring from NC State. The lefty earned second-team all-league honors a year ago while ranking among AAC leaders in field goal percentage (fifth at .510), double-doubles (tied for sixth with seven), blocks (tied for ninth at 1.2), rebounds (14th at 6.8) and points (17th at 12.9).
Washington needs 132 points in 2017-18 to reach the 1,000-point plateau for his collegiate career.
Evans led the Bearcats in scoring, averaging 13.5 points with 4.2 rebounds a year ago. A 2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year finalist, NABC District 25 Second Team selection and American Championship All-Tournament team honoree, Evans ranked among the league leaders in three-point field goal percentage (fifth at .418), steals (ninth at 1.3), field goal percentage (11th at .473), points (12th at 13.5), three-pointers made (12th at 1.9), free throw percentage (14th at .732) and minutes played (26th at 31.6). He scored in double figures in 31 of 36 games last season, the most by a Bearcat since Sean Kilpatrick (33 of 34 games in 2013-14).
// 2017-18 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
Team (First-Place Votes) – Points
1. Cincinnati (7) – 116
2. Wichita State (5) – 115
3. UCF – 93
4. SMU – 91
5. UConn – 79
6. Houston – 72
7. Temple – 68
8. Tulsa – 52
9. Memphis – 36
10. Tulane – 30
11. ECU – 24
12. USF – 16
// 2017-18 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Preseason Player of the Year
Shake Milton, G, Jr., SMU
Preseason Rookie of the Year
Alterique Gilbert, G, r-Fr., UConn
Preseason All-Conference Teams
Shake Milton, G, SMU
Jalen Adams, G, UConn
Rob Gray, G, Houston
Landry Shamet, G, Wichita State
B.J. Taylor, G, UCF
Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati
Junior Etou, F, Tulsa
Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati
Tacko Fall, C, UCF
Kyle Washington, F, Cincinnati
// UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Fans can get their first look at the 2017-18 Bearcats at the annual Red-Black Scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 28 at BB& T Arena. Tip time is set for 3:30 p.m. Gates open at 3 p.m. Parking is $5 cash.
UC’s two-game exhibition season starts Wednesday, Nov. 1 when the Bearcats play Bellarmine at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Tipoff is 7 p.m. UC then welcomes Embry-Riddle to BB&T Arena on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m.
UC opens the 2017-18 regular season against Savannah State on Friday, Nov. 10 at noon.