1. Xeyrius Williams, Dayton
Perhaps the most dangerous player in the A-10 from behind the arc last season was Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams. The sophomore could fill it up in a hurry, and his efficiency got better as they year went on. Williams led the conference with a 45.1% mark during league play. He made two enormous threes to bury Rhode Island on the road and also went 5/8 from downtown in a road loss to George Washington.
It will be interesting to see if Williams can be as dominant next season. While he finished 2nd in the A-10 in shooting percentage as sophomore, his junior year may be different with increased attention. Scoochie Smith and Charles Cooke are no longer around as threats from the outside. You can bet opposing defenses will be locking down on Williams any time he gets a touch on the wing.
2. Jaire Grayer, George Mason
Look for Jaire Grayer to be one of the best three point shooters in the Atlantic 10 this season. He improved from a 29.7% clip his freshman year to 38.8% his sophomore year. Not to mention, Grayer shot 44.9% in conference play and was a huge catalyst for the Patriots. Marquise Moore could drive the lane because Grayer’s ability as a shooter forced defenders to play him tight on the perimeter. He becomes a problem for opponents, because you know guys like Otis Livingston II will take advantage of an open lane, scoring inside or finding an open shooter.
As a junior, Jaire Grayer is going to be called upon to do a lot more offensively, especially without Marquise Moore or Jalen Jenkins in Fairfax. Look for #5 to be Mason’s best scorer from downtown, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him lead the A-10 in made threes this season. As long as George Mason’s got Grayer firing from deep, it shouldn’t have too much of an issue keeping up with the league’s high-level offenses.
3. De’Riante Jenkins, VCU
Jenkins was limited last season, but he’s a guy you should get on your radar immediately. Shooting 15-33 from three (45.5%) last year is just a taste of what you’re going to get from the sophomore this season. Expect him to be VCU’s go-to shooter on the wing, and he could wind up as the team’s leading scorer in 2017-18. Jenkins was 3-3 from deep in an A-10 Tournament win over George Mason, and I think that’s the kind of production you should expect from him this year; stretching out defenses and having a deadly shooter on the wing will be big.
4. Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
Is it possible that one of the Atlantic 10’s most deadly shooters doesn’t even reside in the backcourt? You must not know Peyton Aldridge very well. With the ability to play inside-out, Peyton Aldridge is probably the hardest player to guard in the A-10. And I’m not talking “inside-out” in a half-hearted sense; Aldridge is a force to be reckoned with on the inside, and he also buried 40.9% of his three point attempts last season.
Without Jack Gibbs in the mix, the perimeter is Peyton Aldridge’s spot. He’ll move freely around the court on offense, and given the incredible mark with which he buries long range shots, you gotta get him the ball.
5. Davell Roby, Saint Louis
Don’t sleep on the Billikens, especially if Davell Roby’s got the ball. Sneakily one of the best three point shooters last season, he’s going to have some help this year. He knocked down 41.2% of his long range shots in 2016-17, and with a load of talent on the floor this season, you can expect him to get some more open looks. Here’s one of the few guys on the list that could actually increase his efficiency significantly. Roby’s been one of the A-10’s best three point shooters the last two seasons, and with a much-improved Billikens team, who knows how much better the senior can be this year.
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
Tre Evans, Fordham
Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson
Jair Bolden, George Washington
Jarvis Garrett, Rhode Island