With Big East media day underway at Madison Square Garden, the UConn men’s basketball team was chosen to finish third in the 2023-24 Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind Marquette and Creighton.
Despite ranking higher than the Golden Eagles and Bluejays in the Preseason AP Poll and receiving a first-place vote nationally, the Huskies received zero first place votes to finish atop the Big East. Marquette garnered seven out of a potential 11 first-place votes to take the top spot, while Creighton collected the other four.
The Huskies were followed closely by Villanova in fourth place, then Rick Pitino’s St. John’s squad and Xavier. Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Butler and DePaul rounded out the bottom half of the poll.
The full preseason coaches’ poll can be found below:
2023-24 Big East Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
Stephon Castle named Preseason Freshman of the Year, Clingan named to All-Big East second team
UConn’s highly-touted recruit Stephon Castle was named Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year, adding extra hype to freshman season with high expectations. The 6-foot-6 Castle was a McDonald’s All-American last season and was considered the crown jewel of a recruiting class that ranked amongst the best in the country nationally. Castle figures to immediately make an impact for the Huskies this season and is currently projected as a lottery pick in this year's NBA Draft. Castle could be the first Husky to win Big East Freshman of the Year since Rudy Gay did so in the 2004-05 season.
The Huskies did not have any players earn Preseason All-Big East First Team honors, but sophomore center Donovan Clingan did earn a spot on the Preseason All-Big East Second Team. Clingan is currently recovering from a foot injury, but the Bristol, Connecticut big should slide into the starting lineup upon his return and see a major uptick in minutes after relieving Adama Sanogo off the bench last season. Like Castle, Clingan is widely projected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Fellow sophomore Alex Karaban earned honorable mention Preseason All-Big East honors. Karaban shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range last season and made major improvements as a defender throughout the course of the season. He figures to be a stabilizing presence in the starting lineup and one of the Huskies’ top shooting threats alongside Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer.
The full list of individual Big East accolades can be found below:
Big East Preseason Player of the Year
Tyler Kolek, Marquette, G, Sr., 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Cumberland, R.I.
Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year
Stephon Castle, Connecticut, G, Fr., 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Covington, Ga.
Preseason All-Big East First Team
Trey Alexander, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton, C, Sr., 7-foot-1, 270 pounds, St. Louis, Mo.
Bryce Hopkins, Providence, F-G, Jr., 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Oak Park, Ill.
Joel Soriano, St. John’s, C, Sr., 6-foot-11, 255 pounds, Yonkers, N.Y.
Justin Moore, Villanova, G, Gr., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Fort Washington, Md.
Preseason All-Big East Second Team
Donovan Clingan, Connecticut, C, So., 7-foot-2, 280 pounds, Bristol, Conn.
Baylor Scheierman, Creighton, G, Sr., 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, Aurora, Neb.
Oso Ighodaro, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-foot-11, 225 pounds, Chandler, Ariz.
Kam Jones, Marquette, G, Jr., 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Memphis, Tenn.
Eric Dixon, Villanova, F, R-Sr., 6-foot-8, 255 pounds, Willow Grove, Pa.
Preseason All-Big East Honorable Mention
Alex Karaban, Connecticut, F, R-So., 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, Southborough, Mass.
Devin Carter, Providence, G, Jr., 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Miami, Fla.
Zach Freemantle, Xavier, F, Gr., 6-foot-9, 227 pounds, Teaneck, N.J.