Player of the Year: Kevin Anderson, Richmond, Sr.
Anderson 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.
Wright 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 league.
Breakout Star: Ramone Moore, Temple, Jr.
There 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
Staten 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 dangerous team.
- 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.
- Xavier: 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.
- Temple: 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.
- Dayton: 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 Tournament spot.
- Richmond: 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: 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.
- Duquense: 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.
- UMass: 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 -- thorough mediocrity.
- Fordham: 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.