Nov. 11, 2008
Center Valley, Pa. - After being tabbed as the favorite to repeat as Patriot League men's basketball champion in October, American University has continued to earn preseason praise from national outlets leading up to the start of the season on Friday.
The Eagles are ranked No. 23 in the preseason College Insider.com Mid-Major top 25, where they were the only Patriot League team to earn a ranking. Senior guard Derrick Mercer was also honored by the organization, as he was named to the 2008-09 College Insider.com Mid-Major All-America team. Mercer was one of 25 selections to the squad.
The Mid-Major Poll and All-America squad is made up of teams from the following conferences, in addition to the Patriot League: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit League, Sun Belt, West Coast.
American has also been recognized as one of the top shooting teams in the country. After leading the Patriot League and ranking sixth nationally in three-point field-goal percentage last season, both The Sporting News and ESPN.com have high expectations for the Eagles' long-range ability in 2008-09. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News ranked the Eagles as the No. 2 shooting team in the country, behind only Notre Dame. And ESPN.com picked American senior guard Garrison Carr as the eighth-best three-point marksman in the nation. The Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year, Carr shattered a League record with 135 three-pointers last season, good for the 14th-best single-season total in NCAA history.
Rivals.com has also extended recognition to both American and The Patriot League. The Eagles were rated as the No. 65 team in the nation by the organization, while The Patriot League was selected as the No. 15 conference in Division I.
American is one of five Patriot League teams to open the season on Friday, as the Eagles visit No. 12 Oklahoma.