BOSTON - Senior forward Chima Moneke is one of 40 players named to the Lute Olson Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by CollegeInsider.com on Monday. This award, bestowed on a yearly basis, is presented to the nation’s top Division I player.
Moneke, a senior communication major, enjoyed an outstanding season for the Aggies last year. The Big West Conference’s rebound champion — he ended the season with a 9.5 per game figure — averaged 14.6 points, shot .527 overall and led the league in nine different categories: field goals made (192), rebounds per game, defensive rebounds (249), defensive rebounds per game (6.9), total rebounds (341), blocks (51), blocks per game (1.4), double-doubles (14) and double-figure rebound games (17).
With Moneke in the starting lineup, UC Davis advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after winning its first-ever Big West Conference Tournament championship.
The only returning player from the 2016-17 All-Big West first team also earned NABC All-District, Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player, Big West All-Tournament Team, Big West Newcomer of the Year and the Riley Wallace Award, which is given to the nation’s top Division I transfer, following the Aggies’ historic 2016-17 season.
The Canberra, Australia native’s selection to this watch list is the latest addition to a list of preseason honors that includes a spot on the league’s Preseason All-Conference Team, Preseason Big West Conference Player of the Year (SB Nation), Preseason All-Mid-Major third team and Preseason All-Big West first team accolades (College Sports Madness).
The Lute Olson Award is named after the legendary head coach who won 780 games in 34 seasons — 24 spent at Arizona. Throughout his tenure in Tempe, Olson led the Wildcats to 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, 23 straight NCAA appearances, four Final Four appearances and a National Championship in 1997.
The Lute Olson National Player of the Year selection will take place on March 31, 2018, at the CollegeInsider.com Awards event In San Antonio, Texas — site of this season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
UC Davis' 2017-18 campaign will begin on Nov. 13 at Northern Colorado -- the first of a season-opening five-game road swing that also includes another rivalry game vs, Sacramento State at the Golden 1 Center, the state-of-the-art downtown home of the Sacramento Kings. A home-and-home series against Northern Colorado will conclude on Nov. 29 when the Aggies compete inside the Pavilion for the first time this year.
2017-18 LUTE OLSON PRESEASON WATCH LIST
Chima Moneke - 6-6, Sr., UC Davis
Jalen Adams - 6-3, Jr., Connecticut
Deng Adel - 6-7, Jr., Louisville
Peyton Aldridge - 6-8, Sr., Davidson
Grayson Allen - 6-5, Sr., Duke
Joel Berry II - 6-0, Sr., North Carolina
Trevon Bluiett - 6-6, Sr., Xavier
Miles Bridges - 6-7, So., Michigan State
Bruce Brown Jr. - 6-5, So., Miami
Jalen Brunson - 6-3, Jr., Villanova
Jevon Carter - 6-2, Sr., West Virginia
Joe Chealey - 6-4, Sr., Charleston
Gary Clark - 6-8, Sr., Cincinnati
Chris Clemons - 5-9, Jr., Campbell
Bonzie Colson - 6-6, Sr., Notre Dame
Mike Daum - 6-9, Jr., South Dakota State
Tyler Davis - 6-10, Jr., Texas A&M
Angel Delgado - 6-10, Sr., Seton Hall
Shannon Evans II - 6-2, Sr., Arizona State
Marcus Foster - 6-0, Sr., Creighton
Nana Foulland - 6-9, Sr., Bucknell
Devonte Graham - 6-2, Sr., Kansas
Tyler Hall - 6-4, Jr., Montana State
Ethan Happ - 6-10, Jr., Wisconsin
Kevin Hervey - 6-9, Sr., UT Arlington
Aaron Holiday - 6-1, Jr., UCLA
Ben Lammers - 6-10, Sr., Georgia Tech
Jock Landale - 6-11, Jr., Saint Mary's
Kelan Martin - 6-7, Sr., Butler
Yante Maten - 6-8, Sr., Georgia
E.C. Matthews - 6-5, Sr., Rhode Island
Jordan McLaughlin - 6-1, Sr., USC
Chimezie Metu - 6-11, Jr., USC
Shake Milton - 6-6, Jr., SMU
Landry Shamet - 6-4, So., Wichita State
D'Marcus Simmonds - 6-3, So., Georgia State
MaCio Teague - 6-3, So., UNC Asheville
Reid Travis - 6-8, Jr., Stanford
Allonzo Trier - 6-5, Jr., Arizona
Robert Williams - 6-10, So., Texas A&M
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