Men's Basketball Picked to Win CAA Title

October 19, 2010
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 19, 2010

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ARLINGTON, Va.- Old Dominion, which returns four starters from last year's 27-9 squad that captured the Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball title, is favored to repeat as conference champion in 2010-11 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday's CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va.

The Monarchs were followed in the voting by George Mason, VCU, James Madison and Hofstra. Picked sixth was Drexel, followed by Northeastern, William and Mary, Delaware, Towson, Georgia State and UNC Wilmington.

ODU, which has made six consecutive postseason appearances, is riding the momentum from its first CAA championship since 2005. The Monarchs went on to knock off Notre Dame, 51-50, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. ODU welcomes back a trio of senior frontcourt players in third-team All-CAA selection Ben Finney (8.8 ppg/5.8 rpg), Frank Hassell (9.2 ppg/6.7 rpg) and Keyon Carter (7.4 ppg/4.9 rpg). The Monarchs also return three-year starter Darius James (7.0 ppg) and CAA All-Defensive team honoree Kent Bazemore (8.4 ppg) in the backcourt.

George Mason has all five starters back from a 17-15 squad that made the Patriots' eighth postseason appearance in the last 12 years. Mason's backcourt features two-time All-CAA selection Cam Long (12.2 ppg) and junior Andre Cornelius (9.4 ppg), who shot a league-best 43.3% from 3-point range last year. Returning up front are junior post players Ryan Pearson (11.9 ppg/6.4 rpg) and Mike Morrison (8.5 ppg/5.9 rpg) along with CAA All-Rookie honoree, Luke Hancock (7.7 ppg).

VCU is coming off a 27-9 campaign which was capped by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship. Four starters are back for the Rams, who have reached the postseason in six of the past seven seasons. All-CAA point guard Joey Rodriguez (12.9 ppg/5.8 rpg) leads a veteran backcourt that also includes seniors Brandon Rozzell (8.8 ppg) and Ed Nixon (7.9 ppg). The Rams return a pair of frontcourt starters with junior Bradford Burgess (10.4 ppg/5.1 rpg) and senior Jamie Skeen (8.1 ppg).

James Madison is projected to make a significant jump in the CAA standings as three starters return from a year ago and two other standouts are back from injuries. The Dukes are led by a pair of All-CAA honorees up front in senior post player Denzel Bowles (20.8 ppg/9.2 rpg) and junior wing Julius Wells (16.3 ppg/5.1 rpg). JMU will get a boost from the return of sophomore point guard Devon Moore (10.7 ppg) and sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (6.3 ppg), who were sidelined by injuries last season.

Hofstra senior guard Charles Jenkins, who received CAA Player of the Year and honorable mention All-America honors in 2009-10, was selected as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. Jenkins was one of five players in Division I to average at least 20 points (20.6 ppg), four rebounds (4.5 rpg) and three assists (3.9 apg) per game last season. He is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by JMU's Bowles, Mason's Long, VCU's Rodriguez and Northeastern senior guard Chaisson Allen (13.6 ppg/4.7 rpg), who made the All-CAA first team in 2009-10.

Voted to the preseason second team were ODU's Bazemore and Finney, JMU's Wells, Delaware senior guard Jawan Carter (18.2 ppg/4.9 apg) and William & Mary junior guard/forward Quinn McDowell (13.9 ppg/4.3 rpg).

The Monarchs will host their annual Blue-White scrimmage Saturday, October 23 at noon.