Knights Picked Ninth in AAC Preseason Poll

PHILADELPHIA – The men's basketball head coaches of the American Athletic Conference voted in the league's annual preseason poll, released on Monday morning, picking UCF to finish ninth out of 12 teams for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The Knights enjoyed their best season in program history a year ago, winning 24 games, earning their first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, and securing the program's first NCAA Tournament win, defeating VCU in the first round last March.

The loss of BJ Taylor, Tacko Fall and Aubrey Dawkins was seemingly enough for the league's coaches to place the Knights in the bottom quarter of the conference's participants after tying for third in The American's regular season a year ago.

UCF, in its fourth season under head coach Johnny Dawkins, has reloaded for 2019-20. The Knights brought in a pair of graduate transfers that should lead a strong black and gold backcourt. Dazon Ingram, a long and strong point guard from Alabama, and Matt Milon, a three-point sniper from William & Mary, aim to lead the Knights back to the postseason in 2019-20.

Returning veterans Collin Smith, Ceasar DeJesus and Frank Bertz will be relied on in key roles once again this winter, having had success with the Knights last season and the year before in the case of DeJesus.

Smith, DeJesus, Milon and Dawkins are currently in Philadelphia as a part of the league's Media Day festivities to preview the upcoming season.

Houston and Memphis tied for the top spot in the preseason poll, both collecting 113 total points. The Cougars received seven first place votes, while the Tigers totaled four.

Cincinnati picked up the remaining first place vote, finishing third with 94 points in the poll. Wichita State (4th, 88) and South Florida (5th, 79) rounded out the top five in the poll.

UConn was sixth with 75 points, Temple was seventh with 72 points and SMU was eighth with 47 points, all finishing ahead of the Knights. UCF's 40 total points put the Knights ahead of Tulsa (10th, 36), ECU (11th, 20) and Tulane (12th, 15).

Cincinnati's Jarron Cumberland was named the Preseason Player of the Year, while Memphis's James Wiseman was picked as the league's Preseason Rookie of the Year. No Knights were selected to the 11-man preseason all-conference team.

2019-20 American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll and Honors

T-1stHouston (7)113
T-1stMemphis (4)113
3rdCincinnati (1)94
4thWichita State88
5thSouth Florida79

Preseason Player of the Year
Jarron Cumberland, Sr., G, Cincinnati
Preseason Rookie of the Year
James Wiseman, Fr., C, Memphis *
Preseason First Team
Jarron Cumberland, Sr., G, Cincinnati *
Quinton Rose, Sr., G, Temple
DeJon Jarreau, R-Jr., G, Houston
James Wiseman, Fr., C, Memphis
Laquincy Rideau, R-Sr., G, USF
Preseason Second Team
Alexis Yetna, Jr., F, USF
Jayden Gardner, So., F, ECU
Nate Pierre-Louis, Jr, G, Temple
Alterique Gilbert, R-Jr., G, UConn
David Collins, Jr., G, USF
Christian Vital, Jr., G, UConn
* unanimous selection
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