NEW YORK ‒ In many ways, the annual assembly under the historic lights of Madison Square Garden for the Big East Conference’s Media Day marks the unofficial start of a new college basketball season.
Tuesday’s festivities in the Big Apple got the ball rolling with predictions, preseason all-conference selections, and the unmistakable cluttered sound of questions being asked and answered.
Xavier University’s men’s basketball team was picked second in the preseason coaches poll and its two top returning players were named preseason All-Big East first team.
Junior Colby Jones, who finished last season as MVP of the National Invitation Tournament, and 7-foot graduate student Jack Nunge, who led the Musketeers in scoring and rebounding last season, were selected first-team.
Xavier’s coming off a 23-13 season (8-11 Big East) that ended with an NIT championship run, and the conference coaches are predicting the Musketeers, under new head coach Sean Miller, will finish runner-up to Creighton, a team that returns most of its production from last season’s 23-12 NCAA Tournament, and added one of the most sought-after transfers in the offseason (South Dakota State’s Baylor Scheierman).
Villanova and new head coach Kyle Neptune were picked third, followed by UConn, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Butler, Marquette, Georgetown and DePaul.
UConn big man Adama Sanogo was named Big East preseason player of the year by the coaches. Villanova forward Cam Whitmore was selected as the preseason freshman of the year.
Coaches, who aren’t permitted to vote for their own players, selected the following preseason all-conference teams:
Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton, C, Jr., 7-1, 260, St. Louis, Mo.
Jared Bynum, Providence, G, Gr., 5-10, 180, Largo, Md.
Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G, Jr., 6-0, 200, Brooklyn, NY
Colby Jones, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-6, 207, Birmingham, Ala.
Jack Nunge, Xavier, F, Gr., 7-0, 245, Newburgh, Ind.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team^
Arthur Kaluma, Creighton, F, So., 6-7, 225, Glendale, Ariz.
Ryan Nembhard, Creighton, G, So., 6-0, 170, Aurora, Ont.
Kadary Richmond, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-6, 210, Brooklyn, NY
Caleb Daniels, Villanova, G, Gr., 6-4, 210, New Orleans, La.
Eric Dixon, Villanova, F, R-Jr., 6-8, 255, Willow Grove, Pa.
Justin Moore, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-4, 215, Fort Washington, Md.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Chuck Harris, Butler, G, Jr., 6-2, 200, Ashburn, Va.
Baylor Scheierman, Creighton, F, Sr., 6-7, 205, Aurora, Neb.
Cam Whitmore, Villanova, F, Fr., 6-7, 232, Odenton, Md.
^Tie in the voting created an extra position on the Second Team.
2022-23 Preseason Coaches Poll
- Creighton (8) 98
- Xavier (2) 86
- Villanova (1) 85
- Connecticut 77
- Providence 62
- St. John’s 52
- Seton Hall 44
- Butler 36
- Marquette 32
- Georgetown 21
- DePaul 12
First-place votes are in parentheses.