IRVING, Texas – East Carolina junior guard RJ Felton was named to the American Athletic Conference Preseason Second Team and the Pirates were picked fifth in the AAC Preseason Poll as the league unveiled its preseason poll and teams at AAC Media Day on Monday morning.

Voting is done by the league’s 14 head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own schools or student-athletes.

Felton enters his junior year coming off a strong sophomore campaign with career-best averages in points (13.8) and rebounds (4.5) while leading the team in made field goals (166) and three-pointers (64). The Aiken, S.C. native scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting in the Pirates’ road win at SMU on Feb. 19 and was named to the AAC Honor Roll twice during the 2022-23 season. Felton is the first Pirate to be tabbed to an AAC preseason team since Jayden Gardner in 2020.

The Pirates’ selection at the fifth spot in the AAC Preseason Poll is the highest that the program has been picked since joining the league prior to the 2014-15 season. The previous highest that ECU was picked to finish in the American was seventh in 2016-17.

ECU begins its second season under head coach Michael Schwartz on Nov. 6 when the Pirates host Ferrum at 7 p.m inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Below is the league’s full preseason poll and teams:

Preseason Poll (First Place Votes)

  1. Florida Atlantic (11)
  2. Memphis (3)
  3. Tulane
  4. UAB
  5. East Carolina
  6. North Texas
  7. SMU
  8. Wichita State
  9. South Florida
  10. Tulsa
  11. Rice
  12. Temple
  13. Charlotte
  14. UTSA

Preseason All-Conference First Team
Eric Gaines, Jr., G, UAB
Johnell Davis, Jr., G, Florida Atlantic
Alijah Martin, Jr., G, Florida Atlantic
Jahvon Quinerly, Sr., G, Memphis
Jaylen Forbes, Jr., G, Tulane*

Preseason All-Conference Second Team
RJ Felton, Jr., G, East Carolina
Jordan Brown, R-Sr., F, Memphis
Max Fielder, Sr., F, Rice
Zhuric Phelps, Jr., G, SMU
Kevin Cross, Jr., F, Tulane

Preseason Player of the Year
Johnell Davis, Jr., G, Florida Atlantic
Alijah Martin, Jr., G, Florida Atlantic

Preseason Rookie of the Year
Carl Cherenfant, G, Memphis
JJ Taylor, F, Memphis

* denotes unanimous selection