Emory Tabbed as UAA Men's Basketball Preseason Co-Favorite
The 2011-12 Emory men's basketball team and the University of Rochester have been chosen to finish first the University Athletic Association in a preseason poll of the league's coaches.
Both the Eagles and the Yellowjackets received four first-place votes. Washington University held downs third place in the poll while the University of Chicago was tabbed for fourth and Brandeis for fifth. Rounding out the poll was New York University, Case Western and Carnegie Mellon.
Fifth-year head coach Jason Zimmerman enters the upcoming campaign with an experienced cast that features 12 returning letterwinners, including four starters, back in the fold from last year's club that finished with an overall record of 20-5, the program's first 20-win season since the 1989-90 season. Emory posted an 11-3 mark in league encounters, good for second place, just one game behind Rochester.
The Eagles return 90 percent of the scoring, 87 percent of the rebounding total and 95 percent of the assists from last season's team that topped the UAA and ranked 14th nationally in scoring offense with an 83.6 points-per-game mark. Among the vets who return is senior point guard Austin Claunch who tossed in a team-leading 16.5 points per game along with a conference-best 7.4 assists per contest, good for third place nationally. A First Team All-UAA pick last year, the 5-foot-9 Claunch also garnered First Team All-South Region acclaim as chosen by D3hoops.com. Also back in the lineup are junior guard Alex Greven (14.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and sophomore forward Jake Davis (13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), both of whom were Second Team All-UAA picks last season. The 6-foot-5 Davis topped the club in rebounding en route to being named the league's Rookie of the Year.
Emory has also landed some preseason national rankings, holding down the No. 13 spot on the D3hoops.com Preseason Top 25 Poll and the No. 19 spot in the DIII News Preseason Poll. The Eagles and Rochester are the lone UAA teams to earn spots in the preseason national rankings with the Yellowjackets No. 7 in the D3hoops.com poll and No. 6 in the DIII News ranking.
Emory will play an exhibition game at Mercer University on Saturday, Nov. 12, starting at 3:00 pm, before opening the regular season on Nov. 18 against Ferrum in Roanoke, Virginia.