Drummond on Tisdale Watch List

Connecticut center Andre Drummond was among 12 players named Thursday as preseason candidates for the Wayman Tisdale Award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The award, named after the former Oklahoma All-American, will honor the nation's top freshman player during the 2011-12 college basketball season.

Drummond, the 6-10 impact freshman from Middletown, Conn., has been garnering a lot of attention this week. At Big East media day in New York Wednesday, Drummond was named the conference's preseason rookie of the year and was a preseason All-Big East honorable mention selection.

The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season when LSU's Chris Jackson was the recipient. Other previous winners of the award include Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber. Last season, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger won the inaugural Wayman Tisdale Award.

Three Kentucky freshmen – Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague – join Drummond on the preseason list. Davis, a 6-10 forward, and Drummond are considered by many to be the top incoming players in the nation.

Drummond is one of three Big East players on the watch list. Chane Behanan of Louisville and Khem Birch of Pittsburgh were also named.

Here's the entire Wayman Tisdale Watch List for this season:

Bradley Beal, Florida (G, 6-3, 207, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.)

Chane Behanan, Louisville (F, 6-6, 245, Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio)

Khem Birch, Pittsburgh (F, 6-9, 220, Fr., Montreal, Quebec)

Anthony Davis, Kentucky (F, 6-10, 220, Fr., Chicago, Ill.)

Andre Drummond, Connecticut (C, 6-10, 270, Fr., Middletown, Conn.)

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (F, 6-7, 232, Fr., Somerdale, N.J.)

Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (G/F, 6-7, 230, Fr., Dallas, Texas)

Austin Rivers, Duke (G, 6-4, 200, Fr., Winter Park, Fla.)

Marquis Teague, Kentucky (G, 6-2, 189, Fr., Indianapolis, Ind.)

Adonis Thomas, Memphis (F/G, 6-6, 222, Fr., Memphis, Tenn.)

Josiah Turner, Arizona (G, 6-3, 192, Fr., Sacramento, Calif.)

Cody Zeller, Indiana (F, 6-11, 230, Fr., Washington, Ind.)

The Tisdale Award winner receives a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray. A permanent Wayman Tisdale Award is on display at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

The late Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma. Following a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he played 12 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1997 to focus on a jazz music career. In March 2007 Tisdale was diagnosed with cancer and, following a courageous battle that included the amputation of his right leg in 2008, he passed away in May 2009.

Huskies No. 4 in USA Today poll

The preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll was released Thursday and UConn was ranked fourth behind North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio State. North Carolina was one first-place vote away from being the unanimous preseason No. 1.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Syracuse, Duke, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis and Florida.

Pittsburgh was No. 11, giving the Big East four of the top 11. The rest of the Top 20, in order: Baylor, Kansas, Wisconsin, Xavier, Arizona, Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M and UCLA. The final five in the Top 25 were: Marquette, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, California and Missouri.

Several preseason publications have been released and the defending national champion Huskies have been ranked as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 8.

Athlon Sports and The Sporting News both have UConn No. 4 in their national preseason polls, behind No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Ohio State. Blue Ribbon Yearbook ranks UConn fourth behind the same top three and No. 4 Syracuse.

UConn is ranked No. 6 by ESPN.com, No. 7 by Yahoo! Sports, and No. 8 by Lindy's College Basketball.

Dyson Named to Pan Am Squad

Former UConn guard Jerome Dyson has been named to the 12-man USA Basketball men's Pan American Games roster.

The squad was announced Wednesday night after six days of training in Tulsa, Okla., and for the first time in Pan Am Games history the squad is comprised of players who are under contract to play in the NBA Development League in 2011-12. Dyson, who completed his UConn eligibility in 2010, plays for the Tulsa 66ers of the Development League.

Tulsa 66ers coach Nate Tibbetts will coach the Pan Am squad. The team will continue training in Tulsa through Oct. 22 and then compete in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Oct. 26-30.

"I think what excites me about this team is our commitment to defense, our guys have really bought into that," Tibbetts said in a release from USA Basketball. "And then we've got some guards that can really push it and we've got some bigs that are really, really playing hard and are game changers just with their effort."

According to USA Basketball, the finalists for the USA team were: Blake Ahearn (Erie BayHawks/Missouri State '07); Brian Butch (Injured for 2010-11 season/Wisconsin '08); Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends/Washington '09); Jerome Dyson (Tulsa 66ers/Connecticut '10); Moses Ehambe (Iowa Energy/Oral Roberts '08); Marcus Lewis (Tulsa 66ers/Oral Roberts '09); Leo Lyons (Austin Toros/Missouri '09); Renaldo Major (Dakota Wizards/Fresno State '04); Donald Sloan (Reno Bighorns/Texas A&M '10); Gregory Stiemsma (Sokhumi Tbilisi, Georgia/Wisconsin '09); Curtis Sumpter (Maroussi BC, Greece/Villanova '07); and Lance Thomas (Austin Toros/Duke '10).

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