NIIGATA, JAPAN - - Former men’s basketball player Andrew Preston (Winchester, Ky.) has signed a professional contract with Niigata Albirex of Basketball Japan League.
Preston, who just three weeks ago was selected by the expansion East Kentucky Miners of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) in its college draft, generated significant interest late in the summer from teams in Portugal, China and Germany among others.
Preston, a three-year starter and integral cog on Bruin NCAA Tournament teams in 2006 and 2007, developed into one of the most dependable post players of Belmont’s NCAA era.
Named to the 2007 Atlantic Sun All-Tournament team behind his 18 point-10 rebound performance in the championship game victory at ETSU, Preston is the program’s NCAA era career leader in blocked shots (123) and ranks fourth in career field goal percentage (.534).
Preston scored a team-high 14 points in Belmont’s 2007 NCAA Tournament game against eventual Final Four participant Georgetown – earning him postgame accolades from legendary Hoya head coach John Thompson.
The 6-10 center also holds the Curb Event Center record for blocked shots in a game (7, vs. Florida Atlantic, 1/25/05).
“Andrew’s fundamentals, work ethic, and ability to run the floor caught the eye of a number of coaches and scouts,” Preston’s representation Jared Karnes said.
The Basketball Japan League boasts countless recognizable names to American basketball fans, including former Utah Jazz forward David Benoit, former Duke University forward Nate James, former Indiana University center George Leach, and former Seton Hall forward Marcus Toney-El.
Preston could see a familiar face on Niigata Albirex, as the team recently signed former Florida Atlantic and All-Atlantic Sun Conference forward Rodney Webb.
Preston earned Academic All-Conference honors in 2006, and graduated this past May with a degree in accounting.