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Butler Bulldogs Picked Eighth in BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The BIG EAST Conference announced the 2017-18 Preseason Coaches’ Poll and All-BIG EAST lists on Wednesday (Oct. 18) at the annual BIG EAST Basketball Media Day at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Butler Bulldogs were picked to finish eighth by the BIG EAST head coaches. Butler senior F Kelan Martin was selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team by the same group.

Butler, coming off an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and second-place finish in the BIG EAST, was picked to finish eighth in the 10-team conference. BIG EAST head coaches were not able to vote for their own team or their own student-athletes in the preseason selections.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior F Kelan Martin

Defending BIG EAST champion Villanova was picked to win the BIG EAST. Villanova PG Jalen Brunson was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, while his Villanova teammate Omari Spellman was selected as the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Martin earned one of the spots on the preseason first team after averaging 16.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a season ago. Those marks placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the BIG EAST for the 2016-17 season. He shot 78 percent from the free throw line, also in the Top 10 among conference players.

Senior F Kelan Martin scored 20 or more points in 10 games for the Bulldogs last season. He also led the team in scoring 15 times. The 6-7 forward from Louisville, KY., has been voted an All-BIG EAST Second Team performer by the conference’s head coaches following each of the past two seasons.

Martin enters the season with 1,304 career points, a total that already ranks 23rd on Butler’s all-time scoring list.

The Bulldogs return Martin and fellow starters, senior F Tyler Wideman and sophomore G Kamar Baldwin, among a talented group that led the team to a 25-9 record in 2016-17, a season that culminated in the program’s sixth Sweet 16 appearance. Butler went 12-6 in BIG EAST play, finishing in second place in the league standings. Head Coach LaVall Jordan takes over the program. He returns to his alma mater where he previously was part of NCAA Tournament teams as both as a player and assistant coach.

Butler opens the season with an Oct. 28 exhibition at Hinkle Fieldhouse against Hanover College. The 2017-18 regular season tips off Nov. 10 when Kennesaw State visits Indianapolis.

2017-18 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Villanova (8) – 80 points
2. Seton Hall (1) – 71
3. Xavier (1) – 63
4. Providence – 59
5. Creighton – 48
6. St. John’s – 36
7. Marquette – 34
8. Butler – 32
9. Georgetown – 15
10. DePaul – 12
First-place votes in parentheses.

BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-3, 190, Lincolnshire, Ill.

BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Omari Spellman, Villanova, F, Fr., 6-9, 245, North Royalton, Ohio

BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Kelan Martin, Butler, F, Sr., 6-7, 220, Louisville, Ky.
Marcus Foster, Creighton, G, Sr., 6-3, 210, Wichita Falls, Texas
Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-4, 195, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, C, Sr., 6-10, 245, Bajos De Haina, D.R.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, Sr., 6-6, 198, Indianapolis, Ind.

BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team*
Markus Howard, Marquette, G, So., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.
Rodney Bullock, Providence, F, Sr., 6-8, 225, Hampton, Va.
Kyron Cartwright, Providence, G, Sr., 5-11, 185, Compton, Ca.
Marcus LoVett, St. John’s, G, So., 6-0, 180, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, G, So., 6-1, 165, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mikal Bridges, Villanova, F/G, Jr., 6-7, 210, Malvern, Pa.

Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Khyri Thomas, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-3, 205, Omaha, Neb.
Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall, G/F, Sr., 6-6, 215, Bronx, N.Y.
J.P. Macura, Xavier, G, Sr., 6-5, 203, Lakeville, Minn.

**A tie in the voting created an extra position on the second team.

Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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