- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

11:50 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh, which returns eight of its top 10 players from last year’s team that reached the Big East championship game, was picked No. 1 in the pre-season poll by the league’s coaches.

Seven-foot senior center Aaron Gray of Pittsburgh was chosen the pre-season player of the year in balloting announced this morning.

The Panthers, who went 25-8 and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament, received 10 of the 16 first-place votes, while Georgetown, which was No. 1 on four ballots, was second.

Syracuse, last season’s conference tournament champion, and Marquette, each of which received one first-place vote, were third and fourth, respectively.

Gray averaged 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds last season and was voted the conference’s most improved player.

Besides Gray, three other players — juniors Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert of Georgetown and sophomore Dominic James of Marquette — were unanimous selections to the 11-man all-conference team.

The others on the team were: Jeff Adrien of Connecticut, Wilson Chandler and Sammy Mejia of DePaul, Juan Palacios of Louisville, Lamont Hamilton of St. John’s, Terrence Roberts of Syracuse and Curtis Sumpter of Villanova.

Paul Harris, a 6-5 forward for Syracuse, was selected pre-season rookie of the year.

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