INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Big East Conference Media Day at Madison Square Garden took place on Wednesday (Oct. 22). With interim head coach Chris Holtmann filling in for Brandon Miller, out due to medical leave of absence, the Butler Bulldogs were present as coaches voted Butler 7th, tied with Marquette, in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. While the ranking may be a bit of a sting for the Bulldogs, the team did walk away with good news as Butler junior Kellen Dunham was named first team on the 2014-15 preseason All-BIG EAST team selected by league coaches.
Dunham, who led the Bulldogs in scoring with a 16.4 average last year, was joined on the first team by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera of Georgetown, D’Angelo Harrison of St. John’s, JayVaughn Pinkston of Villanova and Matt Stainbrook of Xavier. Smith-Rivera was chosen as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year.
Named second team All-BIG EAST were Billy Garrett, Jr. of DePaul, LaDontae Henton of Providence, Rysheed Jordan of St. John’s, Ryan Arcidiacono of Villanova and Darrun Hilliard of Villanova. Butler’s Roosevelt Jones, returning after missing last season with a wrist injury, was given honorable mention on the all-league team, along with Chris Obekpa of St. John’s and Sterling Gibbs of Seton Hall. Freshman Isaiah Whitehead of Seton Hall was tabbed as the BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year.
Dunham was a second team All-BIG EAST player a year ago. He started all 31 games for the Bulldogs and became just the fifth Butler player to score 500 points in his sophomore season. He ranked seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring.
Jones was forced to sit out the entire 2013-14 season, after suffering a broken wrist during Butler’s exhibition tour of Australia in the summer of 2013. In 2012-13, he led the Bulldogs in assists, finished second in rebounding and wound up third in scoring, while helping Butler to a 27-9 record and the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
The league coaches picked defending champ Villanova as the conference preseason favorite, while Georgetown was tabbed second in the poll. St. John’s was chosen third, followed by Xavier, Providence, Seton Hall, Butler and Marquette (tied for seventh), Creighton and DePaul.
Butler returns four starters from last year’s squad, plus Jones, the only player to start all 36 games for the Bulldogs in 2012-13. The Bulldogs opened preseason practice earlier this month under interim head coach Chris Holtmann in preparation for their season-opening exhibition game against the University of Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 1.
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.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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