Thursday, October 29, 2009

UAlbany Chosen Third in America East Conference Preseason Men's Basketball Poll

Cambridge, Mass. - After winning 15 or more games for the fourth consecutive season, the University at Albany men's basketball program has been chosen to finish third in the 2009-10 America East Conference preseason poll, according to a vote of the league's head coaches as announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The Great Danes begin their season against Syracuse on Monday, Nov. 9 at 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU).

Boston University has been installed as a unanimous preseason favorite to win this year's championship. The Terriers, who return their top six scorers, including all-league performers John Holland and Corey Lowe, received eight first-place votes. Vermont, led by two-time America East player of the year Marqus Blakely, placed second in the poll with one first-place vote. The Catamounts shared the 2009 regular-season crown and reached the second round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). UAlbany edged Stony Brook by one point for third in the rankings.

The Great Danes' Tim Ambrose was one of six players selected to the America East preseason all-conference squad. Ambrose, an explosive leaper with a solid build, was among the league's leading scorers at 14.3 points per game last year. The 6-foot junior added 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists, plus shot 78.1 percent from the line. He was named to the all-conference third team after earning all-rookie honors the previous season.

In 2008-09, UAlbany came alive in the America East postseason tournament after struggling during the regular season. The Great Danes, who finished 15-16 overall, became the first seventh seed to defeat a second seed in the conference quarterfinals before dropping a close semifinal battle.

In addition to Ambrose, seven letterwinners return from last year's team. Will Harris, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward, contributed 12.9 points and 6.5 rebounds in his first season with the program after transferring from the University of Virginia. He received third-team All-America East recognition. Brett Gifford, a 6'11" senior, will work in the post for the third consecutive year. He averaged 2.5 points and 3.9 rebounds, and blocked 24 shots. Gifford, one of three tri-captains, has the experience of having played in 91 career games.

America East Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

1. Boston U. (8) 64; 2. Vermont (1) 56; 3. Albany 43; 4. Stony Brook 42; 5. New Hampshire 39; t6. Hartford 27; t6. UMBC 27; 8. Maine 14; 9. Binghamton 12. ( ) - first-place votes

America East Conference Preseason Men's Basketball All-Conference Team

Tim Ambrose (Albany), Marqus Blakely (Vermont), Muhammad El-Amin (Stony Brook), John Holland (Boston U.), Corey Lowe (Boston U.), Joe Zeglinski (Hartford).

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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