Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CAA Preview


The Colonial Athletic Association is always one of the most interesting conferences to watch during the season. The teams are fun to watch and the competition is second to none. Last year, the regular season was nothing short of fantastic, either. Seven teams finished with double-digit league wins, with Old Dominion edging out Northeastern by one game, finishing 15-3 in CAA play. William & Mary and George Mason finished tied for third, with VCU, Drexel and Hofstra behind them. A competitive conference tournament ensued, with top-seeded Old Dominion sliding past VCU in the semifinals and then defeating William & Mary in the title game. In the Big Dance, ODU defeated Notre Dame in the final seconds before falling to Baylor. Another great season is in store for the CAA.

  • 1. Old Dominion: The defending champions lose Gerald Lee, but bring back versatile wings Kent Bazemore and Ben Finney, as well as emerging big man Frank Hassell.
  • 2. VCU: Draft pick Larry Sanders is gone, but Shaka Smart still has talent. Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess form a good backcourt, and Jamie Skeen is solid up front.
  • 3. George Mason: All five starters return for the Patriots, who finished in third. Cam Long is the leader on the perimeter, while Ryan Pearson is a double-double threat down low.
  • 4. James Madison: Expect the Dukes to take a big step forward this season. Big man Denzel Bowles is extremely productive, while Julius Wells can fill it up.
  • 5. Hofstra: Charles Jenkins is one of the best guards in the country, bar none, and Fordham transfer Mike Moore has a chance to put up big numbers in the CAA.
  • 6. Drexel: The offseason arrest of Jamie Harris hurts, but guards Chris Fouch and Gerald Colds will step up for the Dragons. Sammie Givens is relentless in the paint.
  • 7. Delaware: The return of Brian Johnson from injury will help on the perimeter, where scorer Jawan Carter and shooter Alphonso Dawson also return for the Blue Hens.
  • 8. William & Mary: The Tribe made a run to the CAA title game last season, but three starters are gone. The best returnee is Quinn McDowell, but he will need help this season.
  • 9. Northeastern: This will be Chaisson Allen’s team, without a doubt. He is the only returning player who averaged more than 3.2 points last season. Who will step up?
  • 10. Towson: The Tigers might be a sleeper this season. Robert Nwankwo is a double-double guy down low, while RaShawn Polk and Jimmy Smith are scorers on the perimeter.
  • 11. UNC-Wilmington: New coach Buzz Peterson faces a tough job ahead of him, but all-conference candidate Chad Tomko returns. The loss of John Fields to Tennessee hurts.
  • 12. Georgia State: Not much is coming back for the Panthers, so the recruiting class will have to make a difference. The best of the bunch if guard DeVonta White, a quick playmaker.

Player of the Year: Charles Jenkins, G, Hofstra

All-Conference Team:

  • G- Charles Jenkins, Hofstra
  • G- Joey Rodriguez, VCU
  • G- Chaisson Allen, Northeastern
  • G- Jawan Carter, Delaware
  • F- Denzel Bowles, James Madison

Second Team:

  • G- Cam Long, George Mason
  • G/F- Kent Bazemore, Old Dominion
  • G/F- Quinn McDowell, William & Mary
  • F- Julius Wells, James Madison
  • F- Frank Hassell, Old Dominion

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