Atlantic 10 releases Preseason picks, All-Conference selections

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Welcome back, basketball. Atlantic 10 Media Day is officially underway as coaches, staffers and members of the media converge at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY to talk hoops after the reveal of this year’s preseason poll and All-Conference selections.

Preseason Poll
1. VCU (28) ……………………………………………………….. 392
2. George Washington …………………………………… 343
3. Dayton …………………………………………………………. 339
4. Massachusetts …………………………………………….. 294
5. Richmond ……………………………………………………. 261
6. Rhode Island ……………………………………………….. 253
7. La Salle …………………………………………………………. 221
8. Saint Joseph’s ………………………………………………201
9. Saint Louis …………………………………………………….181
10. St. Bonaventure ……………………………………………130
11. Duquesne ……………………………………………………..94
12. Davidson ……………………………………………………….84
13. George Mason ……………………………………………..82
14. Fordham ……………………………………………………….65

Preseason First Team All-Conference*
Jordan Sibert Dayton Sr.
Patricio Garino George Washington Jr.
Kendall Anthony Richmond Sr.
DeAndre’ Bembry Saint Joseph’s So.
Treveon Graham VCU Sr.
Briante Weber VCU Sr.
*There was a tie for the last spot on the team

Preseason Second Team All-Conference
Dyshawn Pierre Dayton Jr.
Kevin Larsen George Washington Jr.
Jerrell Wright La Salle Sr.
Cady Lalanne Massachusetts Sr.
E.C. Matthews Rhode Island So

Preseason Third Team All-Conference
Jon Severe Fordham So.
Kethan Savage George Washington Jr.
Steve Zack La Salle Sr.
Gilvydas Biruta Rhode Island Sr.
Youssou Ndoye St. Bonaventure Sr.

Preseason Defensive All-Conference Team
Patricio Garino George Washington Jr.
Steve Zack La Salle Sr.
Hassan Martin Rhode Island So.
Alonzo Nelson-Ododa Richmond Jr.
Briante Weber VCU Sr. G

INSTANT REACTION

Controversial pick?

So far the most controversial item to come out of these selections is perhaps the inclusion of last year’s A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Briante Weber, as a First Team All-Conference selection despite not making an appearance on any of last season’s All-Conference teams outside of his All-Defense Team selection. Weber however did not jump any players in making that move, instead joined Richmond’s Kendall Anthony and GW’s Patricio Garino, who moved up from last season’s final Second and Third teams. Dayton’s Jordan Sibert and Saint Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry both made their first appearances as well.

The most noise we’ve heard so far has come from fans believing Rhode Island’s EC Matthews perhaps deserved to be on the First Team after averaging 19 points over Rhody’s last 12 games. The 6’5 guard had seven games where he posted 20 or more points over that span including 32-point performance in 37 minutes against Duquesne in which the freshman hit 11 of his 15 attempts from the field including six of his eight three-pointers.

Who will rise

GW saw a league-best three players selected to the All-Conference teams, the lowest of which, Kethan Savage (Third Team), returns as GW’s leading scorer after averaging 12.7 ppg while healthy last season. Savage did so averaging just the sixth most minutes for the Colonials last season (25.6) so could really fill up the stat sheet with a healthy season after the graduation of leading scorer, Maurice Creek. His 1.9 steals per contest led the team so look for this two-way threat to potentially make a rise to First Team status by the end of the season.

VCU’s Melvin Johnson could very well see his name on one of these teams by the end of the year as well. Johnson’s biggest roadblock is a deep VCU team that will have a number of weapons, but the rising junior certainly hasn’t shied away from pulling the trigger in his first two season’s at VCU. Johnson’s 305 attempts last season ranked third on the team behind the graduated Juvonte Reddic and First-Teamer Treveon Graham, his 103.8 offensive rating ranking higher than even the likes of Rhode Island’s Matthews and one of the best in the conference by players who played 20% of their team’s possessions this past season.

A team too high, a team to low

Let’s be honest, after about the top four, maybe even top three…hell, maybe after VCU, the league looks like a bit of a tossup from top to bottom. I do believe overall the league’s current top four should be around where they are ranked but could see teams 5-12 finish in any random order. That said, if I had too pick one team perhaps ranked too high I might have to go with La Salle based on how much they struggled after the graduation of Ramone Galloway last season. The Explorers have a number of solid new faces including top-100 transfer guard (Auburn), Jordan Price, but hard for me to expect them to not struggle without the likes of Garland, Duran and Mills after how they faired without Galloway. Too low? I’ll take a chance on the the new kids. Yes, like most teams the Wildcats graduate some talent, but for me, I like the Wildcats higher than 12th coming off a 20-win season that included a 13-game winning streak toward the tail end of it. I get that they are coming from the SoCon, but they are also bringing Bob McKillop with them. Give me the Wildcats to surprise (I think I picked them 8th in my blogger poll rankings earlier this year).

 

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About Author

Mat Shelton-Eide has been involved in college athletics since 2007, starting as a co-founder of VCURamNation.com where he covered the Rams all the way to Houston as the one-time CAA darling shocked the hoops world with a historic run to the Final 4. He has worked within two Atlantic 10 athletic departments, first as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department during the '09-'10 basketball season, then after receiving his M.Ed. from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership, as a ticketing and marketing intern in the University of Richmond's athletic department during the inaugural season of Richmond's Robins Stadium, months before the Spiders 2011 Sweet 16 run.

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