MU Pegged Sixth; Henry Ellenson All-BIG EAST Second Team Pick
Oct. 14, 2015
NEW YORK - The Marquette University men's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the BIG EAST Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, while freshman forward Henry Ellenson was a second team all-conference selection according to the annual survey of league coaches. Junior center Luke Fischer was also named an honorable mention preseason All-BIG EAST pick.
Marquette finished just behind Providence in the poll with 44 points. The optimism for the Golden Eagles is focused on coach Steve Wojociechowski’s highly rated recruiting class. Freshman forward Henry Ellenson, also a preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team selection, is expected to make an immediate impact along with a few of his classmates. Guard Duane Wilson and center Luke Fischer established themselves as solid starters in their first seasons at Marquette. Wilson made the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team after averaging 11.9 points which led all freshmen in the league. Fischer averaged 11.0 points, 4.8 points and 2.2 blocked shots.
Henry Ellenson, a 6-10 freshman from Marquette was a McDonald’s and Parade All-American as a prep senior at Rice Lake, Wis. and the Co-Winner of the Wisconsin Mr. Basketball honor. He is the first freshman to earn preseason All-BIG EAST First or Second Team honors since the Preseason All-Rookie Team was discontinued in 1992-93.
The Wildcats proved the coaches prophetic last year as they captured their second straight regular-season BIG EAST title with a 16-2 mark and went on to win the BIG EAST Tournament. Overall, Villanova enjoyed one of its greatest seasons ever with a 33-3 overall mark – the most victories in school history – and a No. 2 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
The Wildcats return only two starters from last year’s squad, but coach Jay Wright appears to have many capable players ready to assume larger roles in ’15-16. He also expects a heralded recruiting class to offer some immediate contributions. The returning starters are senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year last season, and senior forward Daniel Ochefu. Arcidiacono averaged 10.1 ppg and was second in the BIG EAST in assist/turnover ratio at 2.7. Ochefu averaged 9.2 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 64.4 percent from the floor. Junior guard Josh Hart averaged 10.1 ppg as a top reserve. He was named BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year and won the Dave Gavitt Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Georgetown was picked second for a second straight season. The Hoyas, who picked up 70 points in the poll, tied Butler for second place last year with a 12-6 league record. They finished 22-11 overall and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. This season, the Hoyas will look to senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who averaged 16.3 ppg while earning a spot on the All-BIG EAST First Team. Coach John Thompson III also received impressive contributions from a talented group of freshmen, including forwards L.J. Peak and Isaac Copeland, both of whom made the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Butler finished just behind Georgetown in the poll in third place with 67 points. The Bulldogs, who were tied for seventh in last year’s poll, also made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season and finished 23-11. Coach Chris Holtmann should feel comfortable building around guard Kellen Dunham and forward Roosevelt Jones. Dunham, one of the BIG EAST’s top shooters, is the league’s top returning scorer with a 16.5 average. He was an All-BIG EAST First Team pick. Jones is a versatile performer who averaged 12.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Both are seniors.
Xavier was slotted for fourth place with 55 points. The Musketeers have made the NCAA Tournament in each of their first two seasons in the BIG EAST. Last year, they advanced farther in the NCAAs than any league team by making the West Region semifinals, Xavier’s fifth appearance in the Sweet 16 in the last eight seasons. The Musketeers finished 23-14 overall. This year, coach Chris Mack can turn to three returning starters, including All-BIG EAST Rookie selection Trevon Bluiett, guard Remy Abell and forward James Farr. Junior forward Jalen Reynolds was a top reserve who averaged 9.9 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Providence finished fifth in the poll with 45 points. The Friars will build around junior guard Kris Dunn, the 2015-16 Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year. Last year, he shared BIG EAST Player of the Year honors with Villanova’s Arcidiacono. Dunn also won BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors. He is the first guard in the history of the league to garner Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year accolades in the same season. Dunn averaged 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and a league-leading 7.5 assists and 2.7 steals. Coach Ed Cooley will assemble a supporting cast that will include forward Ben Bentil and guard Jalen Lindsey who earned starting duty as freshmen.
Seton Hall was picked seventh with 27 points. The Pirates finished 16-15 last year with a lineup that included several freshmen. Forward Angel Delgado was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year after averaging 9.8 points and 10.5 rebounds. He won the BIG EAST rebounding crown by averaging 10.7 boards in league games. Guard Isaiah Whitehead made the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team after averaging 12.0 points and 3.9 rebounds. Guard Khadeen Carrington, another freshman, was in coach Kevin Willard’s guard rotation and averaged 8.8 points.
DePaul was picked eighth in the poll with 25 points. Coach Dave Leitao returns for his second stint with the Blue Demons. He had a successful three-year run from 2002-05 which included an NCAA Tournament berth. His 2015-16 squad will feature three returning double-figure scorers. Guard Billy Garrett, Jr., the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year two seasons ago, averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 assists last year. Forward Myke Henry averaged 12.0 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds. Forward Tommy Hamilton IV posted averages of 10.0 points and 5.3 boards.
Creighton was placed ninth in the poll with 23 points. Last year, the Bluejays were expected to be in a regrouping mode after the Doug McDermott era concluded. They were certainly competitive in 2014-15, but the Bluejays absorbed four one-point losses and lost five more games by between two and four points. Coach Greg McDermott will be able to plug in two transfers who are expected to contribute immediately, guard Maurice Watson, Jr. and forward Cole Huff. Forward Toby Hegner enjoyed a strong freshman season by averaging 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds.
St. John’s finished 10th in the poll with 13 points. Chris Mullin, one of St. John’s and the BIG EAST’s greatest players, starts his first year as a head coach. His first Red Storm squad will bear no resemblance to last year’s senior-laden team that finished 21-12 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. No starters return and Mullin will construct a lineup built around a group of transfers and freshmen.
2015-16 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
2015-16 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr., 6-4, 220, New London, Conn.
2015-16 BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, Fr., 6-2, 199, Lincolnshire, Ill.
2015-16 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Kellen Dunham, Butler, G, Sr., 6-6, 200, Pendleton, Ind.
Roosevelt Jones, Butler, F, Sr., 6-4, 225, O’Fallon, Ill.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-3, 214, Indianapolis, Ind.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-3, 195, Langhorne, Pa.
Jalen Reynolds, Xavier, F, Jr., 6-10, 232, Detroit, Mich.
2015-16 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team
Billy Garrett, Jr., DePaul, G, Jr., 6-6, 205, Chicago, Ill.
Henry Ellenson, Marquette, F, Fr., 6-10, 245, Rice Lake, Wis.
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, F, So., 6-9, 230, Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall, G, So., 6-4, 210, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova, F, Sr., 6-11, 245, Baltimore, Md.
2015-16 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Isaac Copeland, Georgetown, F, So., 6-9, 220, Raleigh, N.C.
Luke Fischer, Marquette, C, Jr., 6-11, 245, Germantown, Wis.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, Fr., 6-2, 199, Lincolnshire, Ill.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, So., 6-6, 215, Indianapolis, Ind.
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