Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CAA Preview


Last season, the CAA didn’t have any viable at-large candidates like in previous years, but it featured the most exciting conference race in the country. Six teams finished above .500, with all six within four games of each other. When the dust settled, VCU ended up on top, going 14-4. The Rams finished one game ahead of George Mason, and two games ahead of Northeastern, who had the league lead for much of the season, and Old Dominion. Hofstra and Drexel finished in fifth and sixth, respectively. VCU also won the conference tournament, but could not repeat its magic of the 2007 NCAA Tournament and fell to UCLA in the first round. This season should be wide-open at the top.

1. VCU: Despite the loss of Eric Maynor and Anthony Grant, the return of Larry Sanders and arrival of Jay Gavin should keep the Rams at the top.
2. Northeastern: The Huskies struggled down the stretch last season, but return four starters and have the pieces to win the CAA title.

3. Old Dominion: Always a factor in the conference, the Monarchs return five starters from last season, including all-conference big man Gerald Lee.
4. George Mason: The Patriots lose three starters from a year ago, but are going to be built around all-conference guard Cam Long.
5. James Madison: After reaching 21 wins last season, the young and talented Dukes could be ready to take the next step and be a sleeper.

6. Hofstra: Not surprisingly, the Pride are going to be a contender. Charles Jenkins is arguably the best player in the league and can carry the team.
7. Georgia State: If stud freshman Rashanti Harris ever steps onto the court, the Panthers will have enough firepower to make some noise.
8. UNC-Wilmington: The Seahawks struggled immensely last season, winning just three league games, but guards Chad Tomko and Johnny Wolf both return.
9. William & Mary: Another team looking to take a step forward, the Tribe are led by the inside-outside tandem of David Schneider and Danny Sumner.
10. Delaware: The loss of point guard Brian Johnson to an ACL injury hurts, but Jawan Carter and Alphonso Dawson will continue to be scorers.
11. Drexel: The Dragons lose leading scorer Scott Rodgers and could struggle offensively, but they play excellent defense and are experienced.
12. Towson: The Tigers have the potential to be much better than this, especially if a heralded freshman class led by Isiah Philmore makes an impact.

Player of the Year:
 Charles Jenkins, G, Hofstra

All-Conference Team:
G- Charles Jenkins, Hofstra
G- Chad Tomko, UNC-Wilmington
G/F- Matt Janning, Northeastern 
F- Gerald Lee, Old Dominion
C- Larry Sanders, VCU 

Second Team:

G- Jawan Carter, Delaware
G- Cam Long, George Mason
G- Joe Dukes, Georgia State
G- David Schneider, William & Mary
F- Manny Adako, Northeastern

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