It’s just the end of September, which means college basketball isn’t really on our radar yet. But that won’t stop NBCSports.com from releasing its 2016-2017 Pre-Season All-American Team, and there’s a familiar, but not-too-familiar, name on it for the Hoos. Redshirt junior power forward Austin Nichols is listed as a Second Team All-American.
Here’s what NBCSports.com has to say about the transfer out of Memphis:
Nichols is going to be the star for this year’s Virginia team, which is once again a contender for the ACC title. As a sophomore at Memphis, the former McDonald’s All-American averaged 13.4 points, 6.7 boards and 3.4 blocks. He spent last season redshirting at Virginia and learning the system, which he is a perfect fit for. He’s a better big man that Anthony Gill, and Anthony Gill was one of the most underrated players in the country last season.
Better than Anthony Gill? That’s quite the praise! Though Nichols hasn’t played an official minute for Virginia yet, we’ve seen his highlights from the team’s trip to Spain, and at 6’9”, 234 lbs., he looks like a monster out there. At Memphis, he led the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), blocked shots (3.4 bpg and good for third nationally) and minutes (29.5 mpg), while maintaining a 49.7 field goal percentage. As a recruit, he was named the Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year.
This preseason praise is a great start to what could prove to be another great basketball season with a potentially deep run to finish. Stay tuned as we start getting ready for our full basketball coverage next month.