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Maryland men’s basketball senior guard Eric Ayala named preseason All-Big Ten; Terps women picked to win conference

Maryland men’s basketball senior guard Eric Ayala was named preseason All-Big Ten on Wednesday.

Ayala, who was recently named to the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award watch list, was one of 11 players on the preseason all-conference team, which was determined by the media. He’s joined by Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), Hunter Dickinson (Michigan), Caleb Houstan (Michigan), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Andre Curbelo (Illinois), Keegan Murray (Iowa), E.J. Liddell (Ohio State), Trevion Williams (Purdue), Jaden Ivey (Purdue) and Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers).

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Cockburn was named the Big Ten’s Preseason Player of the Year and a preseason All-American by the Associated Press. Cockburn, Dickinson, Davis, Liddell and Ivey are unanimous selections. Houstan is the only freshman on the team.

Ayala had his best year as a Terp last season, averaging a team-best 15.1 points per game while shooting 40.6% from the 3-point line. Ayala had an impressive performance in the Terps’ victory over UConn in the first round of the NCAA tournament, as he scored 23 points.

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Ayala declared for the 2021 NBA draft in April, but later announced his return to College Park for his senior season. Ayala is expected to play a huge leadership role on a Maryland team that features nine new players, six of which are transfers. The Terps, who are ranked No. 21 in the AP preseason poll, will open the season Nov. 5 with an exhibition against Fayetteville State at Xfinity Center before hosting Quinnipiac on Nov. 9.

Terps women picked to win Big Ten

On Tuesday, Maryland women’s basketball juniors Ashley Owusu and Diamond Miller were named to the preseason All-Big Ten team.

Owusu, a unanimous selection, and Miller were two of Maryland’s top scorers during the 2020-21 season, as they each averaged around 17 points per game. On Monday, Owusu was named to the watch list for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the nation’s top point guard.

Maryland women’s basketball, which is ranked No. 4 in the AP preseason poll, was picked to win the Big Ten title by the league’s head coaches and media panel. The Terps are returning their entire starting lineup from last year’s team that went 26-3 (17-1 Big Ten) and led the nation in scoring (90.8 points per game). Maryland opens its season with an exhibition against Fairmont State on Friday at 6 p.m.

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