NEW YORK – Pitt was named the favorite to win the Big East and junior guard Ashton Gibbs was named first-team all-conference at Big East men’s basketball Media Day today at Madison Square Garden.
The Panthers, who return four starters from a 25-9 team, received 12 of a possible 16 first-place votes in the coach’s poll for a total of 222 points. They easily outdistanced Villanova (208 points), which got one first-place vote and is second in the poll. Syracuse, which received two first-place votes, is third, followed by Georgetown and West Virginia.
Kevin Jones of West Virginia also made the first-team all-Big East team, and St. John’s senior D.J. Kennedy, a Schenley High School graduate, earned second-team honors.
Austin Freeman of Georgetown was named the preseason player of the year and Syracuse’s Fab Melo was named the preseason rookie of the year.
St. John’s, which received the remaining first-place vote, finished sixth in the voting. Notre Dame, Louisville, Marquette and Connecticut round out the top 10.
2010-11 Big East preseason coaches poll
1. Pittsburgh (12) 222
2. Villanova (1) 208
3. Syracuse (2) 187
4. Georgetown 173
5. West Virginia 164
6. St. John’s (1) 145
7. Notre Dame 123
8 (tie). Louisville 121
10. Connecticut 113
11. Seton Hall 104
12. Cincinnati 91
13. USF 54
14. Providence 36
15. Rutgers 32
16. Depaul 26
2010-11 Preseason all-Big East
Austin Freeman, 6-3, Jr., G, Georgetown
Kemba Walker, 6-1, Jr., G, Connecticut
Ashton Gibbs, 6-2, Jr., G, Pittsburgh
Jeremy Hazell, 6-5, Sr., G, Seton Hall
Corey Fisher, 6-1, Sr., G, Villanova
Kevin Jones, 6-8, Jr., F, West Virginia
Chris Wright, 6-1, Sr., G, Georgetown
Jimmy Butler, 6-7, Sr., F, Marquette
Tim Abromaitis, 6-8, Sr., G, Notre Dame
D.J. Kennedy, 6-5, Sr., G/F, St. John’s
Kris Joseph, 6-7, Jr., F, Syracuse
Yancy Gates, 6-9, Sr., F, Cincinnati
Darius Johnson-Odom, 6-2, Jr., G, Marquette
Rick Jackson, 6-9, Sr., F, Syracuse
Preseason Player of the Year
Austin Freeman, Georgetown
Preseason Rookie of the Year
Fab Melo, Syracuse