Knights Picked to Win The American

PHILADELPHIA ( –For the first time in UCF’s Division I history, the Knights have been picked to win their conference by the league’s coaches.

Announced Monday morning, the coaches of the American Athletic Conference selected UCF as the favorite for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The Knights received 114 total points and six first place votes, edging out defending league championship Cincinnati, which garnered 107 points and three first place nods.

The UCF men’s basketball program has won four conference championships since joining the Division I ranks for the 1984-85 season, but never has the program been picked to win the league by the conference’s coaches. After winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament in 2004, UCF was picked by the media to win in 2004-05, but was selected third by the league’s coaches.

For 2018-19, the third season under head coach Johnny Dawkins, the Knights have been picked to win their conference, and it’s in The American. A league with historical basketball powers like UConn, Cincinnati and Memphis. A league with three teams in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, including Houston and Wichita State. The team the group of coaches think will come out on top is UCF.

With seniors and prior all-conference performers BJ Taylor and Tacko Fall back for their final run, the expectations are high for UCF.

Taylor and Fall were both selected by The American's coaches as 2018-19 Preseason All-Conference honorees with Taylor being named the league's Preseason Player of the Year. And they have a wealth of returning talent around them. The Knights lost just one starter off of last year’s squad that finished 19-13 while fighting through major injuries to three of their star players.

Chad Brown, Ceasar DeJesus, Dayon Griffin, Chance McSpadden all return with another year of experience, another year of learning Dawkins’ system.

And then there is the influx of talent added to the mix. Aubrey Dawkins, who has sat out the last two seasons, is finally expected to make his debut as a Knight this winter. The former Michigan star sat out 2016-17 after transferring and then missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Collin Smith, from George Washington, junior college transfer Frank Bertz and freshman Dre Fuller Jr. are all capable of playing key roles for the Knights this season.

With expectations high, the Knights continue to work through the preseason in preparation of Nov. 6. UCF opens up the 2018-19 campaign with Rider and a 6:30 p.m. tip at CFE Arena.

Fans excited for the upcoming 2018-19 UCF men's basketball season can purchase tickets today by calling (407) 823-1000 or online here:

1. UCF (6) - 114
2. Cincinnati (3) - 107
3. Houston (2) - 103
4. Memphis (1) - 85
5. UConn - 75
6. Temple - 74
7. SMU - 63
8. Wichita State - 60
9. Tulsa - 48
10. Tulane - 23
11. ECU - 22
12. S. Florida - 18

Preseason Player of the Year
B.J. Taylor, guard – UCF

Preseason Freshman of the Year
Nate Hinton, guard – Houston

Preseason All-Conference
First Team
Jalen Adams, guard – UConn *
Jarron Cumberland, guard – Cincinnati
Jeremiah Martin, guard – Memphis
Quinton Rose, guard – Temple
B.J. Taylor, guard – UCF

Second Team ^
Corey Davis, Jr., guard – Houston
Tacko Fall, center – UCF
Jarrey Foster, guard – SMU
Markis McDuffie, forward – Wichita State
Jahmal McMurray, guard – SMU
Sterling Taplin, guard – Tulsa

*unanimous selection
^extra member due to tie in voting