Nov 2, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT
Player of the Year: Kevin Anderson, Richmond, Sr.
is the reigning A-10 player of the year, and for good reason. He led
Richmond, a team good enough to earn a seven-seed in the NCAA
Tournament, to a 26-win season and a third place finish in the league
by averaging 17.8 ppg and putting up impressive performances (31 in a
loss to Wake Forest, 29 in a win over Temple, 27 is a win at Xavier)
against good competition. With his back court mate David Gonzalvez
departing, that means there will be just that many more shots available
for Anderson. But with the improvement that Justin Harper showed late
last season, and with the possibility of Dan Geriot returning to his
sophomore year form, Anderson will have some help. He is a cat-quick,
6′ guard that can get into the lane against just about anyone. With an
improved jump shot, Anderson will be near unstoppable at this level.
And a close second goes to: Chris Wright, Dayton, Sr.
didn’t develop as much as Dayton fans would have liked last season.
He’s still a tremendous athlete, that certainly hasn’t changed, but the
perimeter game that he needs to become a potential pro is not yet
there. His jump shot needs a healthy dose of reliability, and his
handle is not yet to the point where he can go more than one or two
dribbles it take to get from the perimeter to the rim. That said, with
Dayton losing seven seniors, Wright’s usage is no doubt going to go up,
and there is no reason why the 6’8″ forward can’t average 15 points and
9 boards for the Flyers even if his perimeter game doesn’t improve. If
it does, and Wright shows he can hit a jumper and be a threat putting
the ball on the floor, he has as high of a ceiling as anyone in the
Breakout Star: Ramone Moore, Temple, Jr.
are a number of interesting candidates that could slide in here –
Xavier’s Mark Lyons, Richmond’s Justin Harper, St. Louis’ Cody Ellis,
Rhode Island’s Akeem Richmond, UMass’ Terrell Vinson. But I like Ramone
Moore, the reigning sixth man of the year in the league. Moore averaged
just 7.6 ppg as a perimeter reserve for a team that saw their three
perimeter starters average nearly 100 minutes combined. When he did get
the opportunity — a seven game stretch in February where Juan
Fernandez was dealing with a severe blow to the head he took against
Forham — Moore saw him minutes increased, and responded by averaging
16 ppg over that stretch. With Ryan Brooks and Luis Guzman graduating,
there are minutes — and shots — available for the 6’4″ junior. I
expect a big season out of him.
All-conference First Team:
- POY – Kevin Anderson, Richmond, Sr.
- G – Terrell Holloway, Xavier, Jr.
- G – Juan Fernandez, Temple, Jr.
- F – Lavoy Allen, Temple, Sr.
- F – Chris Wright, Dayton, Sr.
- F – Damian Saunders, Duquesne, Sr.
All-conference Second Team:
- G – Chris Johnson, Dayton, Sr.
- G/F – Delroy James, Rhode Island, Sr.
- F – Chris Gaston, Fordham, So.
- F – Aaric Murray, La Salle, So.
- F – Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure, Jr.
Freshman of the Year: Juwan Staten, Dayton
comes to Dayton at the perfect time, as the Flyers lose their top four
back court players. He is also the perfect point guard for a Brian
Gregory team. Strong, athletic, and tough, Staten isn’t afraid to mix
it up defensively, but he is also a quite talented offensive player
(top 100 nationally). He can get into the paint and finish, either
around the rim or with a series of floaters and short jumpers. He can
also draw defenders and create, and has enough range to keep the
defense honest. Dayton is going to need a playmaker this season,
someone that can create opportunities for others, and Staten could very
well be that guy.
- G – Tyreek Duren, La Salle
- G – Daryl Traynham, UMass
- G – Langston Galloway, St. Joseph’s
- F – Jordan Latham, Xavier
- F – CJ Aiken, St. Joseph’s
- Jim Baron’s rough offseason:
It started when Billy Baron, the son of the URI head coach, decided to
not to follow his brother’s footsteps in playing for their father.
Instead, Billy opted to head to Virginia
to play in the ACC. Then there was Kyle Cain, a talented 6’7″ forward
that became a hot commodity during his senior season. Baron let Cain out of his LOI, and he ended up at Arizona State.
It gets worse. Baron has drawn some criticism for the way he has been recruiting as well. Baron didn’t get word until September
that Daniel West (a former Tennessee commit that sat out a year in
Knoxville and spent last season at a JuCo) was eligible, while the two
most highly touted freshmen that URI landed will not be suiting up this season
– PJ Lockridge did not qualify, while Tashawn Marby felt homesick and
left school. In addition, junior Orion Outerbridge will be ineligible for the first semester.
- Jim Baron wasn’t the only one with a rough offseason:
St. Louis was supposed to be a team that would compete for an NCAA
Tournament spot this year. Instead, they will be rebuilding, as their
two best players — Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed — were both kicked out of school, most likely because of an alleged sexual assault that occurred back in May.
- Derek Kellogg cleans up the SEC: Kellogg has landed
both Luke Cothron, a non-qualifier at Auburn that was a top 50 recruit,
and Cady Lalanne, a non-qualifier at Georgia. Neither will be eligible
this season, but if he can get them eligible for 2011, UMass could be a
- St. Bonaventure players get in a fight: Four players — Malcolm Eleby, Lewis Leonard, Da’Quan Cook, and Brett Roseboro — were linked to a fight that resulted in two men getting stabbed. All four were let off with fines and a disorderly conduct charge.
- Bobby Lutz gets the axe:
Despite being the winningest coach in the history of the Charlotte
basketball program, a couple of disappointing seasons had Lutz on the
hot seat heading into the 2009-2010 season. It seemed as if Lutz had
saved his job as the 49ers jumped out to an 18-5 record and seemed a
lock for the NCAA Tournament. But after losing six of seven regular
season games, getting bounced in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament, missing the NCAA’s and the NIT, and declining an invitation
to the lesser tournaments, Charlotte axed Lutz, who wound up at Iowa State with Fred Hoiberg. The 49ers replaced him with Alan Major.
- While we’re on the topic of coaches: Fordham’s Dereck Whittenburg was fired
just five games into the season, and 28 year old Jared Grasso was given
the reins of the program. Grasso did well to keep the Rams playing
hard, but after he went just 1-22 in his 23 game tryout, Fordham
elected to go with Hofstra’s Tom Pecora instead.
- Transfers leaving and coming in:
Duquesne lost three transfers this summer, but the name that really
matters is third leading scorer Melquan Bolding, who will be headed to Farleigh Dickinson. Xavier, on the other hand, brings in a talent. Monmouth standout Travis Taylor, who averaged 17.8 ppg last season, will be joining the Musketeers in 2011.
- Tu?: While we’re on the subject of Xavier, how about Terrell Holloway’s name change.
Holloway will be that much more important this season, as two members
of Xavier’s backcourt will miss the season — Brad Redford tore his
acl, while Justin Martin was a partial academic qualifier.
- Can Temple win a tournament game?:
The knock on Fran Dunphy since he has been at Temple has been that the
Owls have been unable to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. He’s 0-3,
including last season’s beat down at the hands of Cornell. With a team
that looks capable of making another run to the NCAA’s, will this be
the year that Temple breaks through?
- How long until St. Joe’s is relevant again?:
The Hawks have not mattered nationally since Jameer Nelson and Delonte
West graduated. And while Phil Martelli’s club looks like they will
once again be near the bottom of the conference, they do bring in a
fantastic recruiting class. The question now becomes how long does it
take for that excellent recruiting class to deliver excellent results
on the court.
- How good will the Atlantic 10 be this year?:
The isn’t as top heavy as last season, as Xavier looks like they only
team that will be top 25. But the A-10 is deep and balanced this year.
Quite a few of last year’s all-league players are back this season, and
teams that project to the bottom of the league this year have enough
talent to make one wonder if a tournament run is possible. Sure, its
unlikely that La Salle or UMass makes a tournament run, but would
anyone be all that surprised if either team finished in the top half of
the league? What about George Washington or St. Joe’s? There is quality
basketball being played in this conference.
The Musketeers will once again be a favorite in the A-10, but with
Jordan Crawford bolting for the NBA and Jason Love graduating, there
are going to be some big holes to fill. The newly-named Tu Holloway
returns, and he has developed into one of the best point guards on the
east coast. He’s a playmaker with a knack for making clutch plays in
crunch time. With Crawford gone, expect him to have a big season. X
will have a fairly deep back court next season. Mark Lyons, a redshirt
sophomore, is a talented kid that could shoulder some of the scoring
load left by Crawford, and Dante Jackson has turned into a very solid
role player, able to knock down an open three and lock up defensively.
With Brad Redford (acl) and Justin Martin (didn’t qualify) both out,
freshman Jay Canty is going to be counted on quite a bit to provide
quality perimeter minutes off the bench.
The front court will be more of a question mark. Kenny Frease is a
junior that came into Xavier with a lot of hype, but has not exactly
lived up to that potential quite yet. Jamel McLean is a big time
athlete and rebounder, but neither he nor Frease has proven to be much
of an offensive threat. Andrew Taylor, a senior, played some big
minutes against Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament, but he has not
provided much production in his time with the Musketeers. Beyond that,
it will be two freshmen — Griffin McKenzie and Jordan Latham –
fighting for minutes. Xavier, once again, will be the class of the
A-10, and if they get breakout performances from a couple people this
year, could very well win, at least, a game in the NCAA Tournament.
The Owls had a fantastic regular season, using a stifling defense to
win both the A-10 regular season and tournament title, only to once
again flame out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. While Temple
loses leading scorer Ryan Brooks, they should still have more than
enough weapons to compete for the league title. Junior sharpshooter
Juan Fernandez is back and should be expected to have a bump in
production has he becomes the centerpiece of Fran Dunphy’s perimeter
attack. Big man Lavoy Allen, who flirted with the NBA Draft, also
returns after averaging a double-double last season. Combine those two
with talented junior Ramone Moore, who won the A-10 sixth man of the
year award, and the Owls once again have a solid core. Michael Eric, a
6’11″ Nigerian junior, has shown some promise and could develop into a
nice sidekick for Allen, while sophomore Rahlir Jefferson is a talented
swingman that seems to be a nice fit for Dunphy’s defensive style.
Temple was not all that deep last season, especially towards the end of
the year as Craig Williams (who had knee surgery and is out for the
first month), Scootie Randall, and TJ DiLeo really saw their minutes
shrink. With two starters — Brooks and Luis Guzman — that combined
for 68 minutes a game gone, Dunphy is going to have to find minutes
somewhere, and it seems as if those three, plus incoming freshmen Aaron
Brown and Anthony Lee, will be the ones competing for that time. Temple
is always going to be competitive with their defensive ability, but
there were times when this team struggled to score last season. With
Brooks gone, that could become more of an issue. I think Temple will be
a tournament team and a contender for the A-10 title, but they need
depth, and another scoring option, to develop for that to happen.
The Flyers had a disappointing finish to what seemed to be such a
promising season. With all five starters returning and seven seniors on
a roster with quite a bit of talent, most analysts predicted Dayton to
win the Atlantic 10. But the Flyers, who ended up finishing seventh in
the A-10, could never quite figure out how to execute down the stretch,
as all 12 of their losses were by less than eight points. This year,
Dayton essentially loses their entire back court as Mickey Perry,
London Warren, Rob Lowery, and Marcus Johnson all graduate. Brian
Gregory does have some talented perimeter players coming in –
headlined by four-star point guard Juwan Staten and two-guard Brandon
Spearman — but, as is the norm with freshmen, they may not be ready to
contribute significantly immediately. Dayton did catch a break when
Chris Wright made the decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft. A super
athletic combo-forward, Wright was the Flyers leading scorer and
rebounder last season, but he didn’t quite develop into the star that
many believed he would. Chris Johnson, Dayton’s second leading scorer
and another big wing, also returns, as does Paul Williams, who may
sneak into the starting line-up this year. Inside, Kurt Huelsman, who
started every game in his Dayton career, graduates, but the rest of the
front court is back. Sharpshooting Luke Fabrizius, Devin Searcy, and
sophomores Matt Kavanaugh and Josh Benson will likely all see minutes.
I expect Searcy and Benson, in particular, to have good years. This
Dayton squad lost quite a bit of talent, but they were a deep team the
last few years. There is still talent on this roster, and while they
may not be the favorite in the league, they will compete for an NCAA
While the Spiders lose David Gonzalvez to graduation, the good news is
that reigning A-10 player of the year Kevin Anderson returns. A 17.8
ppg scorer last season, Anderson is a lightening quick 6′ guard that
can get into the paint against just about anyone. Shouldering more of
the load this season without Gonzalvez, he could very well become a 20
ppg scorer this season. The question is going to be who steps up in the
back court to replace Gonzalvez. The best answer may one of Chris
Mooney’s two freshmen guards, Cedrick Lindsay and Wayne Sparrow, as
junior Frances-Cedric Martel is really the only perimeter returnee.
Richmond’s achilles heel last season was in the paint, as evidenced by
the pounding they took from Omar Samhan in the NCAA Tournament. And, by
and large, this will be the same group as last season. Much will be
expected of 6’10″ Justin Harper, a 6’10″ forward with a nice perimeter
touch. He averaged 10.6 ppg last season, but with his excellent play
down the stretch, he will be counted on to pick up some scoring. Also
returning in Dan Geriot, who is already a 1,000 point scorer, but
struggled to regain the form of his sophomore year, when he averaged 14
and 7, after tearing his acl and missing the 2008-2009 season. Darius
Garrett also returns, a slender 6’9″ forward. You know what you are
going to get out of Anderson, and if some of his teammates can pick up
the slack and make up for the loss of Gonzalvez’s production, this is a
team that will compete for the league title once again.
Charlotte had an interesting season in 2009-2010. With three transfers
leading the way, Charlotte got out to an 18-5 start and Bobby Lutz
seemingly saved his job. But that didn’t last, as the 49ers lost six of
their last seven before being bounced by UMass in the first round of
the A-10 tournament and decided to end their season after being passed
over by both the NCAA and the NIT selection committees. Then Bobby Lutz
was fired, and replaced by Alan Major. So what should you expect from
the 49ers in 2011? Well, the good news is that they return their top
three scorers, including one of the league’s best front courts. BC
transfer Shamari Spears proved to be a handful for A-10 foes, averaging
16.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg, while Chris Braswell had an excellent freshman
campaign, averaging 9.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg. Also back is gunner Derrio
Green, who is the epitome of the streak shooter. When he’s on, he can
go for 25 against anyone. When he’s off, he might shoot 0-10.
Experienced small forward An’Juan Wilderness also returns, but the
x-factor for this team is going to be at the point. DiJuan Harris led
the A-10 in assists, and he’s gone. Jamar Briscoe, a sophomore transfer
from NCCU that averaged 17.8 ppg (but just 2.6 apg) as a freshman, and
Luka Voncina, a 6’4″ Slovenian point guard, will be the two most likely
to compete for the job. Voncina, however, has not yet been cleared by the NCAA.
The other issue for Charlotte will be depth. Phil Jones should see some
time inside, and Javaris Barnett returns as well, but this is not a
deep team, especially with Charles Dewhurst and KJ Sherril battling
knee injuries. There’s talent on Charlotte. They have size and they
will be able to put up points. But learning a new coach and system
while dealing with point guard and depth issues is not easy. I think
the 49ers will be a borderline tournament team, but I expect them to be
too inconsistent — springing a couple of upsets, losing a couple games
they shouldn’t — to be a lock.
- Rhode Island:
While the Rams won 26 games last season, their year peaked in February
when they had a record of 19-3 and say at 11th in the RPI. URI would
proceed to lose six of their last ten in the regular season and miss
the NCAA Tournament with a third straight late season collapse. Things
didn’t get better in the off-season as Stevie Mejia, one half of their
point guard rotation, transferred and both Kyle Cain and Billy Baron,
head coach Jim Baron’s son, both opted to go to high-major programs.
They will also lose two of their three leading scorers, Keith Cothran
and Lamont Ulmer, to graduation while freshmen Tashawn Mabry (homesick)
and PJ Lockridge (academics) are both off the URI roster. All hope is
not completely lost, however. Delroy James has a chance to become a
real star at this level as he will likely be the focal point of Baron’s
offense. Two other starters — big man Will Martell and point guard
Marquis Jones — will both be back as well. Sophomore guard Akeem
Richmond should be ready to slide into the starting lineup for Baron. Junior
forward Orion Outerbridge was expected to be a starter, but it was
announced in September he will miss the first semester due to
academics. Someone out of this group, most likely Richmond, is going to
need to become a reliable secondary scoring option, but on paper this
is a pretty solid starting five. After that, the question marks pile
up. If the three players mentioned above are ineligible, will the
combination of Ben Eaves and Jamil Wilson, who broke his foot and is
out until December, be enough back court depth? Can sophomores Ryan
Brooks and Nikola Malesevic (who played a combined 33 games last
season) and freshmen Levan Shengelia and Blake Vedder, a 7’3″ project,
be contributors at this level? In terms of talent, this team has enough
to finish in the top half of the A-10. With a couple of players currently banged up (Martell, Shengelia), it will be interesting to see if URI has enough depth.
The Dukes had a shot to be really good last season as they returned the
majority of their roster from a squad that went 21-13. But they could
never quite find any consistency, struggling to a 16-16 finish before
being bounced in the first round of the CBI. That potential is still
there this season, as Rob Everhart’s team brings back the five of their
top seven, headlined by Damian Saunders. Saunders is one of the best
players in the A-10. A long, 6’7″ forward, Saunders averaged 15.3 ppg,
11.3 rpg, and led the conference with nearly 3 steals and 3 blocks per
game. Also returning will be three talented perimeter scorers in Bill
Clark (14 ppg), BJ Monteiro (11 ppg), and Eric Evans (10 ppg), although
Evans will miss about eight weeks after fracturing his foot. Also
expect sophomore wing Sean Johnson and freshman point guard TJ
McConnell to contribute significant minutes in the back court as well.
There are two issues for this Duquesne team. The first is depth, which
wasn’t helped when 6’9″ freshman Derrick Martin was deemed a partial
qualifier. This was basically a six or seven man team last year, and
three of their rotational players — Melquan Bolding, Morankinyo
Williams (both transfers), and Jason Duty (graduated) — are gone.
Everhart did bring in a five-man recruiting class, but we will see if
there is anyone that can contribute outside of Martin and McConnell.
This Dukes team is especially thin up front, where any injuries or foul
trouble to Saunders could really put the Dukes in a bad situation. The
other issue is shooting. Duquesne may, legitimately, be the worst
shooting team in the country. As a team, they shot just 26.1% from
three and 60.4% from the free throw stripe. And their best three point
shooter (the only player to shoot above 31%) and free throw shooter was
Duty. There is talent on this team, and if they can put it together,
this team can make some noise in the A-10. That is a big ‘if’, however.
- La Salle:
The Explorers were derailed by injuries last season, ruining what was
expected to be a good season, but it could be a blessing in disguise
for this year. For starters, it means experienced guard Ruben
Guillandeaux will be back for another season — he missed all but four
games with a stress fracture. With Rutgers transfer Earl Pettis getting
eligible and three talented guard recruits — Tyreek Duren, Cole
Stefan, and Sam Mills — joining the mix, the Explorers figure to have
a deep and talented back court next season which should help replace
the loss of guys like Rodney Green and Kimani Barrett. Up front, Aaric
Murray returns. Murray was a steal for John Giannini, a 6’10″ center
with range that was a consensus top 50 recruit. If he can be more of a
post presence this season, and less of a spot up shooter, he should
improve on his averages of 12.2 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Joining him up front
will be Jerrell Williams, who averaged 10.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg, Steven
Weingarten, and Devon White. The Explorers could end up being a sleeper
in the A-10 if their talented freshmen live up to the hype and Murray
develops into more of a true post.
- St. Louis:
The Billikens were a surprise last season, winning 23 games — 11 in
A-10 play — with a roster comprised of just freshmen and sophomores.
With that roster essentially intact next season, anything less than an
NCAA Tournament berth is likely going to be considered a
disappointment. The problem is that the roster is not intact. The
Billiken’s two best players — Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed — are
both off the team as a result of an alleged sexual assault. Those
losses are devastating the Billiken’s chances. Mitchell was far and
away the best scorer for St. Louis. There will be some talent left.
Kyle Cassity and Christian Salecich will both likely start, while Brian
Conklin, Justin Jordan, and Paul Eckerle will also be counted on to
play some big minutes. The x-factor for the Billikens will likely be
6’8″ Cody Ellis, an Australian that missed the first 12 games waiting
for NCAA clearance, but averaged 10.5 ppg and made the A-10
all-freshmen team anyway. Without Mitchell and Reed, Ellis is going to
be counted on for a huge portion of the scoring load, as there isn’t a
lot of scoring left. The front court isn’t as deep as their back court,
as a couple of freshmen will play big minutes. The Billikens are a
tough defensive team, although they struggle at times on the glass –
they will be small even for the A-10. If a couple of scorers develop
alongside Ellis, maybe there is a chance for the Billikens to sneak
into the top half of the league. But the tournament bid that was
possible a few months ago is a pipe dream now.
While Derek Kellogg has had a rough start to his tenure in Amherst,
winning just 12 games in each of his first two seasons, the future
looks bright for the Minutemen. UMass was a very young team last season
– they started three freshmen and a sophomore — and while the loss of
Ricky Harris will obviously be a blow, this is a team that should be
better in 2011. Second leading scorer Anthony Gurley, who was moved to
the bench at the end of last season, is a guard that could develop into
a big time scorer this season and help offset the loss of Harris.
Sophomores Terrell Vinson, an athletic and versatile combo forward, and
Freddie Mitchell, a shooter who showed flashes of potential, both
should see a bump is shot attempts and production as well. Junior David
Gibbs, who started 16 of 21 games at the point before breaking his
foot, should be better with another season in the dribble drive offense
while 6’10″ Oregon State transfer Sean Carter is one of the better
rebounders in the league. No matter how you slice it, that is a pretty
good starting five in the A-10. With three star freshmen Daryl Traynham
and Maxie Esho joining a bench that also includes Javorn Farrell,
Sampson Carter, Gary Correjia, and Hashim Bailey, Kellogg will have
some pretty solid depth to work with. UMass finished last season
strong, beating Rhode Island, Charlotte, and giving Richmond a fight in
the A-10 tournament. This team isn’t yet ready to compete for the A-10
title, but you shouldn’t be surprised if this group finishes somewhere
in the middle of the league this year.
- George Washington:
GW loses leading scorer and rebounder Damian Hollis, but the Colonials
return 10 of their top 12 players, all of whom averaged at least 10
minutes per game. The key is going to be rising sophomore Lasan Kromah.
A 6’5″ wing, he is the closest thing Karl Hobbs has to a go-to scorer
on his roster. He’ll be joined in the back court by point guard Tony
Taylor, who is one of those point guards coaches love. He scores a
little (9.4), he was third in the conference in assists (4.2), he
doesn’t turn the ball over, and he can defend. Joining those two in the
back court will be Aaron Ware, Bryan Bynes, Tim Johnson, and Travis
King along with freshman Dan Guest. Up front, Karl Hobbs will have a
lot of size and a lot of bodies at his disposal. There aren’t exactly
any stars in the front court, but with guys like Joseph Katuka, Dwayne
Smith, David Pellom, and Jabari Edwards returning, along with freshmen
Daymon Warren and Nemanja Mikic, Hobbs has a lot of options. Once
again, this is going to be a deep GW team that will play Hobbs’
preferred uptempo pace. After back-to-back 13th place finishes in the
A-10, GW made the jump last season and reached the CBI. While much of
this year’s success will be determined by what kind of player Kromah
turns into and whether or not another scorer develops, it is safe to
assume that GW will again be a team around .500 on the year.
- St. Joseph’s:
On the surface, it looks like the Hawks could be in for another long
season. They lose their top two scorers from a team that won just 11
games last year. That said, there is reason to be hopeful thanks to an
excellent recruiting class brought in by Phil Martelli. It starts with
CJ Aiken, a 6’9″, top 100 forward, that should help to boost an
interior that was truly overmatched last season. Joining senior Idris
Hilliard, who averaged double figures last season, Todd O’Brien, and
Carl Baptiste, this gives the Hawks a front line that will, at the very
least, be more competitive than last season. In the back court,
sophomores Tay Jones and Justin Crogile, who both saw significant
minutes as freshmen, are back. With highly regarded recruits like
Daryus Quarles, Langston Galloway, and Patrick Swilling joining them,
there is quite a bit of potential for the future here. St. Joe’s will
be young this season, but if there freshmen come in ready to contribute
there is an outside shot for this team to make a run at the top half of
the league. More likely, however, I think the Hawks finish somewhere
below .500, although the future does look promising.
- St. Bonaventure:
The Bonnies have a potential star in 6’9″ center Andrew Nicholson.
After winning the A-10 rookie of the year award, his sophomore campaign
was quite impressive as well, as he finished the year with averages of
16.4 ppg and 7.1 rpg. But with Chris Matthews and Jordan Hall both
graduating, the Bonnies have some serious question marks with the rest
of their lineup. For starters, is there anyone else that can be an
impact player on the interior? Junior Da’Quan Cook has potential, but
has been maddeningly unproductive in his first two seasons. Marquise
Simmons, Brett Roseboro, and Jake Houseknecht haven’t proven to be
reliable enough to contribute significant minutes. The other question
is in the back court, where the Bonnies are going to need someone to
step up and become a scorer. The best option may be Michael Davenport,
a 6’4″ junior that showed some flashes as a sophomore, averaging 8.4
ppg. Juniors Ogo Adegboye, who has reportedly looked impressive
this summer playing for Great Britain, and Malcolm Eleby will likely
battle for the starting point guard spot. Sophomore Demitrius Conger
showed some potential as well, and two freshmen — Sam deHaas and
Matthew Wright — could also see some time. Keep in mind, this St.
Bonaventure team may also have to deal with some suspensions from the
fight this summer. Nicholson should be enough to get this club some
wins, but I expect much of the same from the Bonnies this year –
The Rams were dismal last season, finishing the year just 2-26 and
without a win in A-10 play. There were two bright spots, however. Chris
Gaston proved to be a serious threat, averaging 18.0 ppg and 11.4 rpg
and winning the A-10′s player of the year award, while Brenton Butler
returned from a knee injury to averaged 16.5 ppg. Both of them return,
as does third-leading scorer Alberto Estwick. Gone, however, is Jio
Fontan, the Rams star point guard who transferred to USC midway through
the year. Also gone is Lance Brown, who started a majority of Fordham’s
games. The good news is that Fordham did have a number of young guys
contribute last season, and with a solid recruiting class coming in,
there’s hope for the future for new head coach Tom Pecora. But its
difficult to think Fordham will be all that much improved next season.
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