AAC Basketball Media Days tipped off in Philadelphia this morning and USF men’s basketball received high praise from their conference peers by being picked to finish fifth in the conference this season.
The respect comes off a turnaround 2018-19 campaign where the team won a school-record 24 games and captured the CBI Tournament championship, the program’s first postseason tournament championship since winning the Sun Belt in 1990.
As Joey Knight pointed out, this is the first time since the 2014-15 season that the Bulls haven’t been picked either dead last or second-to-last in the preseason conference polls.
On the player front, three USF returnees received preseason all-conference honors with senior Laquincy Rideau being named First-Team All-AAC while sophomore Alexis Yetna and junior David Collins were tabbed for the second team.
USF was the only team to have three players on the all-conference lists.
The only school in the @American_Conf to have 3️⃣ players named preseason all-conference. @whynotque ▶️ 1st Team@Dcloading ▶️ 2nd Team@AlxsYtn_7 ▶️ 2nd Team#TakeNotice #RunWithUs pic.twitter.com/9qSqC6p8MJ— USF Men's Basketball (@USFMBB) October 14, 2019
Rideau, the reigning conference defensive player of the year, broke out in his first season with the Green and Gold last season by averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and a conference-leading 2.9 steals per game. He dipped his toes in the NBA Draft waters this past spring but ultimately decided to return for one final season in Tampa.
The Youngstown, OH, native Collins made the second team after leading USF in scoring with 15.9 points per game last season. Joining him is the 2018-19 AAC Freshman of the Year Yetna, who led the league in rebounding and double-doubles last season.
We’ll have the women’s poll when it comes out later.