ECU’s Jayden Gardner earns first-team All-AAC honors

ECU Pirates

Carolina Hurricanes

FORT WORTH, Texas — East Carolina junior forward Jayden Gardner was voted First Team All-American Athletic Conference by the league’s 11 head coaches. He is the first Pirate to earn first-team all-conference accolades since Maurice Kemp was tabbed First Team All-Conference USA in 2013.

This marks Gardner’s second career all-conference honor after receiving second-team recognition last season. He is the only Pirate to earn first, second or third team all-league honors in the school’s seven-year American Athletic Conference affiliation.

Gardner is joined on the first team by  Quentin Grimes (Houston), Landers Nolley II (Memphis), Kendric Davis (SMU) and Tyson Etienne (Wichita State). Etienne and Grimes shared Player-of-the-Year honors.

Gardner leads The American in points per game (18.3) and is tied for second in rebounding. He also ranks among the conference leaders in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and minutes per game while posting a league-best seven double-doubles.

The Wake Forest native scored more than 20 points in a game nine times this season, including a game-high 21 in the Pirates’ victory over No. 5 Houston while also grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds. He registered four games with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Gardner became just the fourth player in ECU history to amass 1,400 points and 600 rebounds in a career — joining Anton Gil, Darrius Morrow and Bill Otte. He stands eighth in ECU history with 1,445 points and is four rebounds shy of becoming the 11th player in school history with 700 career boards.

He was named to The American Weekly Honor Roll five times during the season and was selected Player-of-the-Week on Feb. 8 after averaging 22.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in pair of games against Houston and Memphis.

The Pirates opens The American Basketball Championship on Thursday, March 11 at 7 p.m. ET against UCF on ESPNU.

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