As is the tradition on media day, the Big East released its preseason awards and coaches’ polls for men’s and women’s basketball, and UConn was represented well on both sides.
For the men’s squad, UConn was picked to finish fourth in the coaches’ poll, behind only Villanova, Creighton and Providence and just ahead of Seton Hall. This is pretty impressive for the Huskies, considering they didn’t even finish that high in the American Athletic Conference last year. It shows that coaches around the conference respect what’s happening in Storrs and expect a big leap from UConn this year.
In addition, sophomore James Bouknight was selected to the preseason All-Big East second team. Bouknight had a solid freshman season last year and is expected to be the main guy for the Huskies this season.
On the women’s side, UConn basically swept the table, something that didn’t change in leaving the AAC. The Huskies were unanimously selected to win the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. Clearly, there’s not too much doubt that UConn will finish on top of the standings, but it will be interesting to see whether the Huskies will go undefeated in conference play, something they did all seven years in the AAC.
Junior Christyn Williams was selected as the preseason Big East Player of the Year. After a standout freshman year, Williams struggled to hit her full potential in her sophomore campaign, so she will look to make that leap this year to fulfill her prophecy as the best player in the conference.
Paige Bueckers, UConn’s top recruit and the most popular freshman in women’s college basketball this season, also took home some honors as the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year.
In addition, junior Olivia Nelson-Ododa and redshirt junior Evina Westbrook were selected to the preseason All-Big East team. Nelson-Ododa made strides last year on both ends of the floor and will be relied on even more heavily this season. Westbrook sat out last season after transferring from Tennessee, so she will look to make a good first impression with the Huskies.