ECU rookie forward Jayden Gardner has been named as a unanimous selection to the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team, the league announced on Monday, March 11. Gardner is the fifth Pirate to be named to the league’s all-freshman team and third to be selected unanimously (B.J. Tyson, Shawn Williams).
Gardner received the honor after averaging 16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game during his first season in Greenville. He leads all conference rookies in scoring and ranks second in rebounding. Gardner is the only player in The American to rank among the Top 10 in scoring and rebounding. The Wake Forest, N.C. native also ranks among the Top 10 Division I freshmen in both scoring and rebounding.
His points per game average currently ranks as the highest scoring average by a freshman in the six-year history of The American.
In 30 regular season games, Gardner scored in double figures 25 times and posted 10 double-doubles. He became the first freshman in conference history to score 30 points and grab 20 rebounds in a game, dropping 35 points and pulling down 20 boards, both American conference freshman records, against UCF on Jan. 13.
He also set conference single-game rookie records for free throws made (16) and attempted (19) versus Appalachian State on Nov. 30.
Gardner’s 256 rebounds this season set a new ECU freshman single-season record and have him ranked second in The American overall leaders in boards. He also ranks second in the league’s overall offensive rebounds leaders with 92.
Gardner was a five-time American Athletic Conference Freshman-of-the-Week, second-most all-time in conference history and one shy of former Memphis forward Dedric Lawson’s record of six. He also picked up USBWA National Freshman-of-the-Week honors on Jan. 15 following his performance at UCF.
Houston guard Nate Hinton and USF forward Alexis Yetna were also unanimous selections to the all-freshman team. The team was rounded out by Wichita State guard Dexter Dennis and Memphis guard Tyler Harris.
The Pirates return to action on Thursday, March14 as the No. 11 seed in the 2019 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship. ECU will face No. 6 Wichita State at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. in a first round matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 10 p.m. EDT on ESPNU.