Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Northeast Conference Preview


The Northeast Conference did not have much of a regular-season race for the top spot last season, as Robert Morris took the reigns of the league early in conference play and never let them go, winning the title by three games. However, three teams jockeyed for second-place, with Mount St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and Long Island all tying at 12-6. Quinnipiac made a nice run late to finish above .500 in conference play, the only other team with double-digit NEC victories. RMU continued its winning ways by emerging victorious in the conference tournament. With several of the top teams losing key players, it should be a wide-open race this year.

1. Mount St. Mary's: The Mountaineers return the league's best player in guard Jeremy Goode, and his backcourt mate, Jean Cajou.
2. Quinnipiac: The Bobcats have arguably the best inside-outside tandem in the NEC in guard James Feldeine and forward Justin Rutty.

3. Long Island University: The Blackbirds will be led by the best backcourt in the league in Jaytornah Wisseh and Kyle Johnson.
4. Robert Morris: The defending champs return three starters, and forward Rob Robinson looks like the next Colonials' star.
5. Central Connecticut State: The Blue Devils could be a sleeper; they return all five starters, namely Ken Horton and Shemik Thompson.

6. St. Francis (N.Y.): If Kayode Ayeni returns completely from injury, he and Ricky Cadell form an outstanding inside-outside duo.
7. Sacred Heart: The Pioneers will likely take a step back this season, but Corey Hassan and Chauncey Hardy make a nice backcourt.
8. Monmouth: Whitney Coleman returns from injury in the backcourt, and big man Travis Taylor anchors a formidable frontcourt.
9. Fairleigh Dickinson: Interim coach Greg Vetrone inherits a team that has had 20-plus losses two years in a row -- but returns Sean Baptiste.
10. St. Francis (Pa.): The Red Flash are coming off of a last-place finish; swingman Devin Sweetney needs to carry them this season.
11. Wagner: Look for the Seahawks to take a big fall in the standings this season after losing four starters from a 16-win team.
Bryant: Not eligible for the postseason yet, the Bulldogs will try to improve on their eight-win total from a season ago.

Player of the Year:
 Jeremy Goode, G, Mount St. Mary's

All-Conference Team:
G- Jeremy Goode, Mount St. Mary's
G- James Feldeine, Quinnipiac
G- Sean Baptiste, Fairleigh Dickinson
G- Jaytornah Wisseh, Long Island University
F- Justin Rutty, Quinnipiac 

Second Team:
G- Ricky Cadell, St. Francis (N.Y.)
G/F- Devin Sweetney, St. Francis (Pa.) 
F- Rob Robinson, Robert Morris
F- Kayode Ayeni, St. Francis (N.Y.)
F- Ken Horton, Central Connecticut State

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