CAA Basketball Announces Preseason Projected Standings
On CAA Media Day, The Conference Announce The Official Projected CAA Standings
Along with the Preseason 1st and 2nd Teams and Player of The Year, the other big announcement to come out of CAA Media Day this far are this season’s standing projections.
The string of CAA writers and contributors whom completed preseason ballots have voted and the results are in. The 2012-2013 men’s basketball predicted order of finish was based off of last season’s results, transfer additions and incoming freshman classes. Also, it is clear voters thought of Old Dominion and Georgia State’s last season in the conference when making their projections as well.
In the following slides, you’ll see the official CAA preseason projected finishes along with Rant Sports CAA Correspondent, Jake Fischer’s, thoughts on the selections.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.
11. UNCW Seahawks
The UNCW Seahawks are synonymous with Keith Rendleman this season. While the senior is having one of the greatest careers in CAA history, averaging 15.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in 2011-2012, he is only accompanied by two other returning starters in Tanner Milson and Cedrick Williams, who both failed to score more than 6 points per game last season. Because of their lack of talented depth, I do agree the Seahawks will be towards the bottom of the pack in the CAA this season.
10. Towson Tigers
The Towson Tigers are also a team with miniscule depth. They feature two returning starters in high-scoring forward Marcus Damas, who averaged 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 2011-2012, and guard Kris Walden who put up 6.6 points, 2.3 rebounds per contest last year. Even though these two pieces are key, the Tigers success will most likely be determined by high-major transfers, 6-8, 245 F Jerrelle Benimon from Georgetown, 6-5, G Mike Burwell from South Florida and 6-9 Graduate student F/C Bilal Dixon from Providence. I also agree that Towson will be in the cellar of the conference and battle UNCW for the 10th spot. But, the program is definitely moving in the right direction
9. Wiliam & Mary Tribe
Led by relatively unsuccessful coach Tony Shaver, the William & Mary Tribe have enough pieces in place this season to stay away from the dreaded 11th spot in the conference. They bring back returning starters F Tim Rusthoven, G Brandon Britt, and G Matt Rum. But, the most important players on the Tribe’s roster this season are sophomore guard Marcus Thornton, a 2012-2013 Preseason All-CAA 2nd Team selection who averaged 11.1 points per game last year, and F Kyle Gaillard who was injured last season. The Tribe are rightfully placed in the number 9 spot in the conference.
8. Georgia State Panthers
Thus far, the CAA basketball writers have done a pretty good job predicting the season’s final standings. However, the voters severely disrespected coach Ron Hunter and the entire Georgia State Panthers team by selecting them 8th. The team returns last season’s starting guard and a 2012-2013 Preseason All-CAA 2nd Team selection, Devonta White, who averaged 12.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last season. They also bring back G Rashaad Richardson, who averaged 5.4 points per game last season, a potential starting backcourt mate for White. Additionally, the team has added Hunter’s son, RJ Hunter, a 6-5 strong guard with loads of potential, and 6-7 F Manny Atkins who transferred from Virginia Tech. Aside from having one of the most inspiring and knowledgeable up-and-coming coaches in the country, the Panthers have one of the more formidable starting lineups in the conference. That combination could prove to be lethal for their conference opponents and worthy of Top 5 projection in the conference.
7. Hofstra Pride
Coming in at number 7, the Hofstra Pride are ranked right around their correct ballpark. Under bright coach Mo Cassara, Hofstra features this seasons captains, F David Imes, electric guard Stevie Mejia, bench player extraordinaire, Matt Grogan. The Pride also compliment their returning key guys with two stud transfers, 6-7 F Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, from Connecticut and 6-2 G Taran Buie from Penn State. They’re 3-15 CAA record last season is also very misleading, having lost seven of those contests by six points or less.
6. James Madison Dukes
The James Madison Dukes are correctly placed behind the Top 5 teams, but are definitely not better than GSU. Head coach Matt Brady does return four starters from 2011-2012 in A.J. Davis, Andrey Semenov, Devon Moore and Enoch Hood. But, this cast of players only went 5-13 in the CAA and only won 7 games outside of the conference. I’m a little skeptical of how this team will be able to compete with the big boys of the CAA.
5. Northeastern Huskies
Unlike the Dukes, the Northeastern Huskies are returning four starters who mesh well together and are all improving. Head coach Bill Coen should be very confident in his star-studded backcourt that features 2012-2013 CAA Preseason 1st Team selection and high-scoring guard, Jonathan Lee, his senior partner in crime, G Joel Smith, rising star G/F Quincy Ford, a Preseason All-CAA 2nd Team selection, and rebounding expert F Reggie Spencer. The Huskies also showed great improvements from last season during their Canadian summer tour this offseason and deserve to be in the conversation for the CAA’s Top 5 teams.
4. Old Dominion Monarchs
The Old Dominion Monarchs are coming off their 8th straight postseason appearance and bring back a lot of key pieces. Among them are Senior forward Nick Wright and junior guard Donte Hill, who are the team’s returning starters. Combining playing experience with head coach Blaine Taylor’s extensive coaching experience, the Monarchs are poised to compete for another 20-win season in the CAA.
3. George Mason Patriots
This may surprise some people, but I think this projection for the George Mason Patriots is a little too high. While I have immense respect for head coach Paul Hewitt, the Pats are only returning two starters from last season. Sherrod Wright should heavily increase his workload this season, after scoring 9.6 points a game last season as the team’s sixth man but they’ve lost top two scorers from last season, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson, who completely dominated the team’s offense last season. This team should experience some early season identity crisis before coming into a groove.
2. Delaware Blue Hens
The Delaware Blue Hens had an extremely encouraging 18-14 season in 2011-2012. Now, they’re returning four starters including the league's top inside-outside combinations in senior forward Jamelle Hagins and junior guard Devon Saddler, who both made the All-CAA second team in 2012. Hagins scored 12.4 points a night and ranked fifth in the nation in rebounding with 11.1 points per contest and ninth by blocking shots 3 shots a game. Saddler was the CAA's second-leading scorer at 18.8 points per game and the team also brings back returning starting senior F Josh Brinkley and guards Jarvis Threatt and Kyle Anderson who are coming off impressive rookie seasons as well.
1. Drexel Dragons
The number top projected team in the conference is none other than the defending CAA regular season champion Drexel Dragons. This season, the Dragons return their star-studded backcourt of CAA Preseason 1st Team selection, Damion Lee and 2012-2013 CAA Preseason Player of The Year, Frantz Massenat. Add those two studs to head coach Bruiser Flint and a solid supporting cast, and you have a team just waiting to eclipse 30 wins.