The conference’s head coaches have selected Butler’s Kamar Baldwin to the 2019-20 Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. The announcement comes Thursday in conjunction with BIG EAST Basketball Media Day being held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Butler was picked to finish eighth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll by the conference’s head coaches. Coaches do not place their own teams on their ballots.
Seton Hall guard Myles Powell has been chosen 2019-20 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year. Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been tabbed BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. The coaches, who were not permitted to choose their own players, also selected an All-BIG EAST First Team, All-BIG EAST Second Team and All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.
Seton Hall is the 2019-20 BIG EAST favorite by the narrowest of margins in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Pirates finished ahead of defending regular-season and tournament champion Villanova by one point in the voting. Both teams received five first-place votes.
Baldwin earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors in 2018-19. The native of Winder, Ga., placed seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring with a 17.0 average and was third in free throw shooting, making 85.0 percent. Having scored 1,453 points in three seasons with the Bulldogs, he has the fourth-best three-year scoring total in school history.
Baldwin’s scoring average increased to 18.9 points per game in BIG EAST contests last season. He is already sixth on Butler’s career steals list (162). Baldwin led the Bulldogs in scoring in 16 games a season ago, highlighted by 10 games registering 20 or more points.
The Bulldogs made the NIT last year and bring back three players who started all 33 contests in 2018-19: guards Baldwin and Aaron Thompson along with wing Sean McDermott. Thompson’s 4.3 assists per game were fourth in the BIG EAST, while McDermott shot 41 percent from behind the arc.
Jordan Tucker became eligible in December after transferring into the program from Duke. His 9.7 scoring average was third on the team. Newcomers include Bryce Nze, who previously played for LaVall Jordan at Milwaukee before transferring to Butler. Nze sat out the 2018-19 season. Derrik Smits, a graduate transfer from Valparaiso, is expected to help immediately along with freshman guard Khalif Battle as Butler works on improving last year’s 7-11 league mark.
The Bulldogs open the 2019-20 season Oct. 26 with an exhibition contest against IU-Kokomo. Following a second exhibition (Nov. 1 vs. the University of Indianapolis), the regular season gets underway Nov. 6 when IUPUI visits Hinkle Fieldhouse.
2019-20 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- Seton Hall (5) – 77 points
- Villanova (5) – 76
- Xavier – 52
T4. Marquette – 50
T4. Providence – 50
6 Georgetown – 49
- Creighton – 45
- Butler – 21
- St. John’s – 19
- DePaul – 11
First-place votes in parentheses.
2019-20 BIG EAST Preseason Honors
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Myles Powell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Trenton, N.J.
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova F, Fr., 6-9, 232, Overland Park, Kan.
BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Sr., 6-1, 190, Winder, Ga.
Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Charlotte, N.C.
Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Sr., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.*
Alpha Diallo, Providence, G, Sr., 6-7, 210, New York, N.Y.*
Naji Marshall, Xavier, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Atlantic City, N.J.*
BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team^
Paul Reed, DePaul, F, Jr., 6-9, 215, Orlando, Fla.
James Akinjo, Georgetown, G, So., 6-0, 180, Oakland, Cal.
L.J. Figueroa, St. John’s, G-F, Jr., 6-6, 195, Lawrence, Mass.
Mustapha Heron, St. John’s, G, Sr., 6-5, 210, Waterbury, Conn.
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-3, 191, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Jermaine Samuels, Villanova, F, Jr., 6-7, 222, Franklin, Mass.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown, C, Jr., 7-0, 275, Istanbul, Turkey
Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-4, 196, Indianapolis, Ind.
^Tie in the voting allowed for an additional honoree