The forwards and centers are going to have a sizable impact on their respective CAA teams. Not the most skilled, but these big men hold their team together with their presence down low on both sides of the ball. Let’s take a look at who the best of the bigs will be this season.
1. Keith Rendleman (UNCW)- Any list consisting of big men in the CAA has to begin with this outstanding senior. First Team All-CAA selection, finished 6th in the league in scoring and averaged a double-double, Rendleman was nothing short of spectacular for the Seahawks. At 6’8, 213 he is a bit undersized for his position, banging with the big guys in the post. But he makes up for it in athleticism and intelligence. He only needs to average 9.2 rebounds per game to become the school’s all-time leader in rebounds. Rendleman will be one of the favorites to win CAA Player of the Year as long as his supporting cast can help out.
2. Jamelle Hagins (Delaware)- At 6-9 with palm tree-like limbs, Hagins is already Delaware’s all-time leading shot blocker heading into his senior year. He was a Second Team All-CAA selection and finished first in the league in rebounding and second in blocks and blocks per game. Hagins finished third in the CAA Defensive Player of the Year voting. With his length, lateral movement and quick jumping, look for Hagins to lead the league in blocks and be the front runner for CAA DPOY.
3. DeShawn Painter (Old Dominion)- The N.C. State-transfer lands in familiar territory when he laces up for the Monarchs this fall. A Norfolk-native, Painter will look to make an immediate impact on the league with his 6-9 235 frame. His strengths are rebounding and defense, which fall right into place with the philosophy of head coach Blaine Taylor. Painter has the ability to score using his athleticism as evident by the 21-point, 20 rebounds game he had during the teams trip to Italy last month. We’ll see if a change of scenery can heed big results from the–once, highly touted–senior.
4. Tim Rusthoven (William & Mary)- This 6-9, forward imposes his will on the low blocks in an old-school manner. He’s not quick, fast or extremely athletic. But he gets the job done. He finished third in the CAA in field goal percentage and averaged just over 10 points per game. Look for the senior to bring stability and consistency in the post to complement the talented young guards for the Tribe.
5. Erik Copes (George Mason)- A wide body at 6-8, 244, Copes will be the imposing force in the center of the Patriots defense this season that is without All-CAA performer Ryan Pearson. In limited minutes last season, he averaged 1.9 blocks per game, which ranked fifth in the conference. With more playing time, the sophomore big man will look to use his body to impact the post on the both ends.