In a tradition like no other, A-10 fans get to ruminate (and complain) about the A-10 awards released the day before the start of the conference tournament. Though these awards are meaningless when it comes to seeding, making the NCAA Tournament, etc., there is a level of pride in having x number of All-Conference players, the coach of the year, and other criteria as you search for some post-season momentum.
But like I said, everyone has their complaints. Guys get left out, wrong decisions are made, and we fans demand answers. Knowing how tough it is to put together 3 All-Conference teams and make difficult selections, I’m willing to cut slack so long as there aren’t any egregious snubs. For the most part, this year’s awards were as expected. Here are some initial reactions to the awards voted on by the conference’s 14 head coaches. For a full report of the awards, click here.
VCU got left out of the mix
With the exception of Marcus Evans making First Team All-Conference and De’Riante Jenkins sneaking in the Third Team, I was shocked to see no VCU players. In particular, it felt like 3 guys (Marcus Evans, Issac Vann, and Corey Douglas) all had great shots at making the All Defensive Team, but that was not the case. I find it surprising that the team with the best defense in the conference (and probably top 10 in the nation) didn’t sneak at least one guy onto that team…
Further, I felt like Marcus Santos-Silva should have won SOMETHING. Many pegged him as a fringe First Team All-Conference player, and in my mind, he should have at least been Third Team. Not to mention, he was my frontrunner pick for Most Improved, though Justin Kier is certainly deserving of that award as well.
Jacob Gilyard or Cyril Langevine should be First Team
As a Davidson fan, I’m as big a Kellan Grady homer as any, but realistically, Jacob Gilyard or Cyril Langevine seemed more deserving of a spot on the First Team. Gilyard put up JAG-type numbers this year (ranked very high in points, assists, & steals) and arguably led his team to a number of good wins (though the Spiders finished 11th in the conference). On a similar note, Langevine was a beast on the boards all year and developed into Rhode Island’s best scoring option, but he got left on the 2nd team as well. Kellan Grady is certainly a First Team caliber player, though I’m not sure he had the season to back it up with some slump stretches and an unfortunate injury to set him back. Regardless, the Wildcats have the most dangerous pair of players in the conference, and it’s certainly not ludicrous to put Grady on the First Team this year.
Obi Toppin racked up the awards
Finishing with First Team All-Conference AND Rookie of the Year, Toppin is bringing home quite a lot of hardware on Tuesday. The freshman had an incredibly efficient season, making just about every dunk that was thrown his way, and Dayton’s improvements in the latter half of the season were due to Toppin as the offense began to center around him. When he comes back as a sophomore, he’ll make a run at conference player of the year.
I love TDM as 6th man of the year
This is one of those awards that seems kind of arbitrary at times, but I think the coaches nailed this one. Tavian Dunn-Martin embodies 6th man of the year due to his active role off the bench as a shooter, but also because he stepped in big for Sincere Carry when the freshman point guard was out with an injury. Dunn-Martin’s role at Duquesne is pivotal, and Keith Dambrot will continue to utilize him moving forward.