The Hawaii men’s basketball team was picked third in the Big West Conference 2015-16 preseason media poll announced today.
Junior swingman Aaron Valdes, who led UH in scoring last season at 13.7 points per game, was named to the preseason all-conference team after receiving an all-league honorable mention in 2014-15.
UH went 22-13 and reached the Big West tournament championship game last season under interim coach Benjy Taylor. It returns much of the core of that team under new coach Eran Ganot.
The Rainbow Warriors also nominated point guard Roderick Bobbitt, guard Isaac Fleming and forward Stefan Jankovic to the preseason team, but only Valdes was named to the six-player group. He was joined by center Mamadou Ndiaye and guard Luke Nelson of UC Irvine, forward Taylor Johns and guard Jaylen Bland of UC Riverside, and wing Michael Bryson of UC Santa Barbara.
UC Irvine, which beat UH for the 2015 tourney title, was tabbed the favorite to win the league again. The Anteaters were followed by UC Santa Barbara, UH, Long Beach State, UC Riverside, Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, and Cal State Fullerton.
UH opens the regular season Nov. 13 against Montana State.