HARTFORD, Conn. – Two unanimous selections were among the five players chosen for the 2015 American Athletic Conference All-Conference First Team, as voted by the league’s 11 head coaches. The announcement was made Tuesday by Commissioner Mike Aresco.
UConn senior guard Ryan Boatright joined SMU junior guard Nic Moore as unanimous selections of the head coaches. They were joined on the first team by Memphis forward Austin Nichols, Temple guard Will Cummings and Tulsa guard James Woodard.
One of the five first-team selections will be announced as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Thursday at an awards luncheon at the XL Center in Hartford, prior to the start of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship.
Boatright enters the postseason as the leading scorer in the American Athletic Conference at 17.8 points per game, both overall and in conference play, showing remarkable consistency through the 2014-15 season. Boatright averaged a league-leading 35.6 minutes per game and finished the regular season second in the conference in 3-point percentage (.424) and free throw shooting (.843) and among the league leaders in assists (sixth, 4.0 apg) and steals (seventh, 1.4 spg).
A repeat selection to the first team, Moore was fourth in The American in scoring (14.4 ppg) during a regular season in which he led SMU to its first conference title since 1993. Moore is the conference leader in 3-point percentage (.429) and free throw percentage (.875) and is second in The American in assists (5.3 apg).
Nichols, the 2014 American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, enjoyed a breakout sophomore year for Memphis before an ankle injury sidelined him for three games late in the regular season. He led the Tigers with 13.3 points per game and is the American Athletic Conference leader in blocks at 3.4 per game. Nichols is ninth in The American in both scoring and rebounding entering the postseason.
Cummings is a standout point guard for Temple who helped the Owls improve by 13 wins from last season. He ranks fifth in The American in scoring at 14.1 points per game, and is the league leader in steals at 2.1 per game. Cummings ranks fourth in The American in assists (4.3 apg).
Woodard lived up to his billing as a preseason all-conference pick by his selection to the postseason all-conference team. The Tulsa star averaged 14.9 points per game, good for third in The American, and capped the regular season by draining a conference-record 10 3-point field goals against SMU. Woodard finished the regular season ranked second in the conference in 3-pointers made (2.7 per game).
The American Athletic Conference Second Team included Cincinnati forward Octavius Ellis (10.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Tulane guard Louis Dabney (13.7 ppg), Tulsa guard Shaquille Harrison (13.3 ppg) and SMU forward Markus Kennedy (11.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and center Yanick Moreira (11.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Kennedy was named to the second team for the second consecutive year.
Honorable mention selections went to Cincinnati guard Troy Caupain (9.4 ppg, 3.6 apg), Temple forward Jaylen Bond (8.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and UConn center Amida Brimah (10.0 ppg, 3.4 bpg) and guard/forward Daniel Hamilton (10.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg).
The conference also announced the five players named to the All-Rookie Team. UConn’s Hamilton and East Carolina guard B.J. Tyson were unanimous choices of the head coaches. They were joined by Cincinnati forward Gary Clark and a pair of UCF players – B.J. Taylor and Adonys Henriquez.
The conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man Award and Sportsmanship Award – will be announced Wednesday. The league’s Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards will be presented at a Thursday luncheon at the XL Center in Hartford.
Complete coverage of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship will be available on the conference’s Championship Central page at www.TheAmerican.org/mbb.
2015 American Athletic Conference All-Conference First Team
Ryan Boatright, G, UConn *
Austin Nichols, F, Memphis
Nic Moore, G, SMU *
Will Cummings, G, Temple
James Woodard, G, Tulsa
2015 American Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team
Octavius Ellis, F, Cincinnati
Markus Kennedy, F, SMU
Yanick Moreira, C, SMU
Louis Dabney, G, Tulane
Shaquille Harrison, G, Tulsa
2015 American Athletic Conference All-Conference Honorable Mention
Troy Caupain, G, Cincinnati
Amida Brimah, C, UConn
Daniel Hamilton, G/F, UConn
Jaylen Bond, F, Temple
2015 American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team
Adonys Henriquez, G, UCF
B.J. Taylor, G, UCF
Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati
Daniel Hamilton, G/F, UConn *
B.J. Tyson, G, East Carolina *
* unanimous selection