NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs has been named 2011-12 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head men's basketball coaches. It is the fifth time in league history that a Pittsburgh player has captured BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year honors.
Connecticut freshman center Andre Drummond was chosen BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Gibbs is a 6-2 senior who was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection last year. He led the Panthers in scoring with a 16.8 average. He was first in the league in 3-point shooting, making 49 percent, and second in free throw shooting, hitting at an 88.9-percent clip. A native of Scotch Plains, N.J., Gibbs enters the season third on the BIG EAST career list in 3-point shooting percentage at 45.4 percent.
The other Panthers to earn Preseason Player of the Year honors are Charles Smith (1986-87), Jerome Lane (1987-88), Brandin Knight (2002-03) and Aaron Gray (2006-07).
Drummond is a 6-11 freshman center from Middletown, Conn. He also was chosen Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.
In addition to Gibbs, five players earned All-BIG EAST First Team recognition. The group includes a graduate student, three seniors and a sophomore.
Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis is the graduate student. The 2010 and 2011 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Abromaitis helped the Irish on the court by averaging 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. The 6-8 forward also is one of the conference's best long-range shooters. He made 42.9 percent from beyond the arc last year.
Darius Johnson-Odom is Marquette's top-notch offensive force. The 6-2 senior guard averaged 15.8 points last season, which ranked seventh in the BIG EAST. In league play, he was even more productive, averaging 17.2 points. Johnson-Odom helped the Golden Eagles reach the NCAA Sweet 16 and finish with a 22-15 record last season.
Syracuse's Kris Joseph earned third-team conference honors last season after averaging a team-leading 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. The 6-7 senior forward also averaged 1.5 steals. Joseph helped the Orange finish 27-8 last year and No. 12 in the final Associated Press poll.
West Virginia's Kevin Jones has been a three-year contributor as a scorer and rebounder. The 6-8 senior forward averaged 13.1 points and led the Mountaineers in rebounding with a 7.5 mark. Entering the 2011-12 season, Jones leads all league players with 612 points and 364 rebounds in conference games.
Jeremy Lamb is a sophomore guard who played a key role in Connecticut's march to the national championship last year. For the season, he averaged 11.1 points and shot 48.7 percent from the floor while making the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team. The 6-5 guard was a standout on the USA Basketball U-19 Team that competed at the World Championships this past summer.
The Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team includes two seniors and three juniors. The seniors are Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates and Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine. The juniors are Connecticut forward/center Alex Oriakhi, Louisville guard Peyton Siva and Villanova guard Maalik Wayns.
The 2011-12 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention group includes Drummond, teammate Shabazz Napier, DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin, Marquette forward Jae Crowder and USF forward/center Augustus Gilchrist.
2011-12 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
2011-12 BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year
Andre Drummond, Connecticut
2011-12 Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh (Player of the Year), G, Sr., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut, G/F, So., 6-5, 185, Norcross, Ga.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, G, Sr., 6-2, 215, Raleigh, N.C.
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Gr., 6-8, 235, Unionville, Conn.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse, F, Sr., 6-7, 210, Montreal, Quebec
Kevin Jones, West Virginia, F, Sr., 6-8, 260, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
2011-12 Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team
Yancy Gates, Cincinnati, F, Sr., 6-9, 260, Cincinnati, Ohio
Alex Oriakhi Connecticut, F/C, Jr., 6-9, 240, Lowell, Mass.
Peyton Siva, Louisville, G, Jr., 5-11, 180, Seattle, Wash.
Scoop Jardine, Syracuse, G, Sr., 6-2 190, Philadelphia, Pa.
Maalik Wayns, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-2, 200, Philadelphia, Pa.
2011-12 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Andre Drummond, Connecticut, C, Fr., 6-11, 275, Middletown, Conn.
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, So. 6-0, 170, Roxbury, Mass.
Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, So., 6-8, 208, Baltimore, Md.
Jae Crowder, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-6, 235, Villa Rica, Ga.
Augustus Gilchrist, USF, F/C, Sr., 6-10, 245, Clinton, Md.