In soccer the No.10 is traditionally worn by a team’s best playmaker. In American football a player’s position determines their number range. Basketball on the other hand is pretty much a free-for-all, just as long as an official can replicate that number using two hands.
By my count (with some help from kenpom’s roster pages) there have been 30 worn jersey numbers by Atlantic 10 players this season (barely). Some numbers were popular picks by top players, others, not so much.
Below is my list of the top players by number for this year’s Atlantic 10 season. Let the debate begin!
0 – EC Matthews (Rhode Island) – He was on the floor just 10 minutes this season but hey, it counts! We wish him a speedy recovery and a big bounce-back 2016-17 season.
1 – JeQuan Lewis (VCU) – What better way to really start this list than with a little controversy. Duquesne’s Derrick Colter clearly has an argument (18.4 ppg) but I opted for Lewis who’s numbers while on the court are better than Colter’s pretty much across the board. This season Lewis is finishing better inside the arc, outside the arc and has higher assists and steals rates than the senior Dukes guard. Lewis ranks top-five in A-10 play this year in assist rate, steals rate and three-point percentage. He’s playing the best basketball of his career and is a major reason why VCU is off to such a strong start in A-10 play.
2 – Miles Reynolds (SLU) – Not a ton of ballers wearing No.2 in this year’s Atlantic 10, leaving an easy path to glory for the Billikens’ sophomore. He’s had some nice games this season but ultimately makes this list be default.
3 – Marcus Posley (St. Bonaventure) – Just the opposite of the No.2 situation, the threes in this league can ball. In the end my main decision came down to Posley and Richmond’s highly-underrated ShawnDrew Jones, with the Bona guard ultimately getting the nod due to his defense.
4 – Charles Cooke (Dayton) – James Madison University has a nice little team this year in the CAA at 18-7 overall (with a win at Richmond) and 8-4 in conference play. Imagine how good they’d be if they still had Cooke, a legit contender for A-10 player of the year. Their loss however is the Flyers gain, as the well-rounded JMU transfer has filled in nicely for the graduated Jordan Sibert.
5 – Steve McElvene (Dayton) – This was a hard one and while McElvene may not be a huge minutes guy, I think he’s hands down one of the most promising, if not THE most promising young player in the Atlantic 10. 6’11 268 with a 60.9% true shooting percentage while blocking 13.5% of A-10 opponents shots when he’s on the floor. The guy is a monster.
10 – Jaylen Adams (Bona) – One of the most efficient players in the Atlantic 10 and he’s just a sophomore. Adams has two 30-point games this season despite playing alongside the talented senior duo of Marcus Posely and Dion Wright. He’s one of the main reasons Bona sits at 7-3 in conference play and is a true contender in this year’s conference race.
11 – Scoochie Smith (Dayton) – His shooting numbers are down in conference play but that won’t be enough to keep him off this list. The Flyers point guard seems to always come up with a big play when Dayton needs one most, including last night with what was essentially a game-winning three over the Dukes of Duquesne.
12 – Jack Gibbs (Davidson) – Ranks third in the A-10 in assists and is third nationally in scoring. One of the best guards this conference has seen, period.
13 – Patricio Garino (GW) – A 6’6 wing from Argentina who can do it all, Garino is having his best season yet with the Colonials. His 27 points at VCU were instrumental in GW’s big road win and was a career-high for the senior.
14 – Shevon Thompson (George Mason) – Despite an eight-minute drop in playing time under new Mason head coach Dave Paulsen, Thompson is still sniffing a double-double at 9.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He’s been one of the best rebounders in the country in his time at Mason and currently ranks second nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing one of every three of his opponents missed shots.
15 – Isaiah Miles (Saint Joseph’s) – Who knew coming into this season that Isaiah Miles would be Saint Joseph’s top scorer? His 17.3 points per contest is a career-high and coincidentally bumps teammate
20 – Jordan Burgess (VCU) – A surprisingly small selection of No.20s lands the former top-100 out of Benedictine High on the list. Burgess doesn’t impress with his offensive numbers but has been a key piece and starter under both Shaka Smart and Will Wade, two guys who have a high level of respect for what Burgess does off the ball and on defense.
21 – Dayshawn Pierre (Dayton) – Another popular jersey selection among talented players (Kevin Larsen, Dion Wright) but it’s Pierre that get my top pick for No.21. The 6’6 senior has been a key contributor since his first season as a Flyer and will go down as one of the all-time winningest players in the history of the program.
22 – Micah Mason (Duquesne) – Mason’s career three-point average of 47.1% is ludicrous. One of the most talented guards I’ve seen in my time covering college basketball, just could’ve used a stronger supporting cast at times.
23 – Peyton Aldridge (Davidson) – This was a tough one but Aldridge edges out Fordham’s Mandell Thomas and Rhody’s Koran Iverson. Iverson has great potential but has struggled somewhat with consistency while Thomas has had a bit of a rough A-10 season. Aldridge is an incredibly skilled offensive player as just a sophomore. He’ll be a dangerous player for McKillop’s Wildcats for the next two seasons.
24 – Korey Billbury (VCU) – Richmond’s Marshall Wood has been a nice addition to the very small amount of No.24s in the A-10 but has been a lot more one-dimensional than VCU’s Billbury. The Rams landed a great transfer piece this offseason in Billbury who’s 10.8 ppg and 5.2 rebs have helped somewhat in replacing some scoring but more importantly toughness from the recently graduated Treveon Graham.
25 – Kendall Pollard (Dayton) – This guy is all #TrueTeam. He plays much bigger than his size and has been a major reason why Archie Miller’s stock is currently through the roof.
30 – Ryan Rhoomes (Fordham) – Underrated for some time now, Rhoomes is finally getting a little shine thanks to an all-around big man game that can no longer be ignored. He’s one of the best shot-blockers, rebounders and finishers in the conference.
31 – Jalen Jenkins (George Mason) – Jenkins showed great promise early in his career but has lacked the progress to make him a star. He finds his way to this list as the only active No.31 in the Atlantic 10. Smart move, Jenkins.
32 – Melvin Johnson (VCU) – I was surprised at the lack of options for this number (kids this age too young to remember Magic Johnson?) but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Johnson is having his best season of his career in what we like to call a “contract year”.
33 – LG Gill (Duquesne) – The 6’8 junior is have a strong year for the Dukes, averaging just under 10 points to go with 6.5 rebounds per contest. He dropped a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double in the Dukes best win of the season, a seven-point home win over the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure.
34 – Tyler Cavanough (GW) – Cavanough has made all the difference in the world for this year’s GW team. The Wake Forest transfer leads GW in scoring and is second on the team in rebounds, giving GW a twin towers duo similar to the combo of Larsen and Armwood that helpd return the Colonials to the NCAA tournament. Another tourney appearance could be in their future but likely would not have been the case without the addition of Cavanough.
35 – Reggie Agbeko (SLU) – Slim pickings for No.35 lands Agbeko on this list. He is however a serviceable player and did drop a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double in a win against Davidson.
40 – Andrew McAuliffe (Davidson) – Basically the only option at No.40 but is shooting 54.2% from the field on the season (on 59 attempts) and has had three double-digit nights.
41 – n/a
42 – Ryan Canty (Fordham) – Smart move by Canty to land himself on this last as the only active No.42 in the A-10. While he hasn’t been a preferable option for Jeff Neubauer, he did put up some numbers in his first two seasons under Tom Pecora including seven double-digits games his freshman season as well as a seven-point, 19-rebound effort in an A-10 tourney win over George Mason last season.
43 – DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s) – Bembry puts the 40s on the map as a legit A-10 Player of the Year candidate and possible NBA early entry. The junior Hawk currently ranks in the top-11 in the A-10 in points, rebounds and assists. The guy simply does it all.
44 – Paul Friendshuh (Richmond) – Friends, huh? No we’re not. Paul made my list not due to a bias I have from sharing a city with him, but from him being the only No.44 to have seen minutes (23) this season.
45 – Rashaan Holloway (UMass) – Rashaan finds his way into this blog post by cramming all 6’11 335lbs of himself into one of the only No.45 jerseys in the A-10. His PT has dropped since A-10 play began but he did see some big minutes early in the season, dropping a career-high 18 points in one of those contests.
50-54 – n/a – (What, no David Robinson fans in this conference?)
55 – Jordan Robinson (Duquesne) – Robinson rounds out the list as the only active No.50 this season. His numbers are down across the board this season but he was smart enough to avoid an offseason jersey exchange to land himself on this list.