Football season is still young, but those busy beavers at CAA World Headquarters are already assembling basketball information. They solicited preseason all-conference guesstimations from a handful of media gerbils.
Predicted order of finish:
College of Charleston
Jerrelle Benimon – Towson (preseason POY)
Frantz Massenat – Drexel
Devon Saddler – Delaware
Damion Lee – Drexel
Marcus Thornton – W&M
Quincy Ford – Northeastern
Tim Rusthoven – W&M
Adeji Barhu – Charleston
Chris Fouch – Drexel
Marcus Damas – Towson
Towson had a 17-game turnaround last season and has the league’s best and most versatile player in Benimon. Pat Skerry continues to recruit well, and the Tigers open a new on-campus playpen. Also, the tournament is in Baltimore this season. Stars aligning?
Love Massenat and Lee, and if Fouch is close to his 2011-12 form, Drexel is a bear in the backcourt. The Dragons will need some inside help for Dartaye Ruffin.
College of Charleston might be the second-best team -- heck, they may be the best team. The Cougars return four starters from a team that went 24-11. Guard Anthony Stitt is the top returning scorer and deserves all-conference consideration, and the 6-8 Barhu led the Southern Conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg). The Cougs led the SoCon in field goal percentage defense (.408), 3-point defense (.301) and rebound margin (plus-5.4).
William and Mary is a fashionable dark-horse pick to make beaucoup noise. The Pantsless Griffins return four starters, led by Thornton and Brandon Britt in the backcourt and Rusthoven and Kyle Gaillard up front. They have several solid reserves, and a good recruiting class adds depth and enhances daily competition in practice.
Delaware has a wonderful backcourt with Saddler, a defensive back with a jump shot, Jarvis Threatt and Kyle Anderson, but managed to go only 13-5 with defensive POY Jamelle Hagins. Is there a suitable inside presence without him?
Northeastern will sorely miss its senior backcourt from last season. Forward Quincy Ford (12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) might be the most gifted player in the league.
JMU lost the bulk of last season’s team, but returns promising youngsters Andre Nation and Ron Curry, as well as forward and world-class nuisance (and we mean that affectionately) Andrey Semenov.
Hofstra and Wilmington are rebuilding after defections, departures and, in the Flying Dutchmen’s case, a coaching change.