We keep chugging along in the A-10 conference, and league play is slowly approaching. Let’s take a look at 5 players across the Atlantic 10 who haven’t been getting enough love for what they’re doing.
Gibson Jimerson, Saint Louis
Offense was hard to come by for the Billikens in 2018-19, but an influx of transfers and freshmen helped alleviate the losses of Javon Bess and Tramaine Isabell. In particular, Gibson Jimseron has been great and has been flying somewhat under the radar. The freshman has had some hit-or-miss games; he was nearly invisible against Belmont and Auburn, but he went off against Tulane and High Point. Even when he’s not burying shots from long range (he’s shooting 42.9% from deep), his mere presence opens up the floor for Hasahn French and Jordan Goodwin to go to work. I think a big reason those two have been playing so well is because the lane isn’t so clogged when Jimerson is on the floor. Having a reliable threat from three is so pivotal.
AJ Wilson, George Mason
Wilson’s career at George Mason has been rocky and somewhat undefined as he’s struggled to find his role leading up to this season. This year, his role is well-defined. AJ Wilson has emerged as an elite shot-blocker, giving the Patriots an absolute weapon on defense in the post. Wilson has the 9th best block percentage in the nation and already has 5 games with at least 5 blocked shots. He’s also been a key on the offensive glass; Wilson might not be the Patriots’ leading scorer in too many games this year, but he does a ton for this team on both ends of the floor and is one of those players that makes his teammates better.
Sean East, Massachusetts
The Minutemen have struggled in their last 6 contests, but the competition has been stiff compared to the beginning of the season. East has been a consistently solid distributor throughout the ebbs and flows of the season, as he’s got the 37th best assist rate in the country. While he’s been stifled by teams like Virginia and Harvard, he’s been asked to do a lot more with a thinning UMass roster that lost another player in Sy Chatman this week. Sean East will be asked to do a lot this year, and the freshman is going to grow up quickly. You might not be talking much about him this year, but you will be in the next couple seasons.
Michael Hughes, Duquesne
A lot of players have taken big steps up this year for the Dukes, but Michael Hughes has been outstanding thus far. He’s leading the entire country in box plus/minus, according to Sport-Reference.com, which is an advanced statistic that measures a player’s contributions per 100 possessions (0.0 is the league average, and players can have either positive or negative BPM). It’s not hard to see why; Hughes is shooting 78.4% from the field, has the 4th best block percentage in the nation, has the 9th best defensive rebounding percentage in the nation, and he’s done a better job staying out of foul trouble recently. The Dukes have been playing very well and are off to a 9-0 start, and Michael Hughes is a major reason why.
Hyunjung Lee, Davidson
This season hasn’t been a rose garden for Davidson by any means, but with Kishawn Pritchett and Luke Frampton out, some of these young guys were going to have to grow up quickly. Hyunjung Lee is really fun to watch. He crashes the glass on the offensive end better than anyone on his team, and some of his hustle plays don’t always show up in the stat sheet. Lee has a nice three point stroke, but I think we’ve yet to see him shoot as well as he will (he’s 13/39 on the year so far). Finally, while he hasn’t gotten a ton of playing time this year, he’s only committed 5 turnovers through 10 games. He’s definitely been Davidson’s glue guy.