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Monarchs Favored To Repeat As CAA Men's Basketball Champions Blue-White Exhibition Tonight

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: October 26, 2005
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Oct. 26, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Old Dominion was the unanimous choice to repeat as the Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball champion in 2005-06 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. The results of the poll were announced during Wednesday's CAA Basketball Media Day at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Fans can get their first look at the Monarchs tonight at 7 p.m. in the annual blue-white exhibition in the Constant Center.

The Monarchs, who return all but one letterman from last year's 28-6 squad, were followed in the voting by VCU, George Mason, Hofstra and UNC Wilmington. CAA newcomer Northeastern was picked sixth, followed by Drexel, Delaware, James Madison, newcomer Georgia State, Towson and William & Mary.

ODU captured its first CAA title since 1997 last season and its 28 overall wins were the second-highest total in CAA history. The Monarchs, who are ranked #21 nationally in a pre-season poll released by Lindy's magazine, return four starters who all earned post-season honors a year ago. Leading the way is senior center Alex Loughton (14.1 ppg/8.2 rpg), who was the CAA Player of the Year, CAA Tournament MVP and an honorable mention All-America selection. He is joined by senior guard Isaiah Hunter (13.4 ppg), a second-team All-CAA pick, junior forward Arnaud Dahi (10.4 ppg/5.4 rpg), a third-team All-CAA selection, and junior point guard Drew Williamson (6.2 ppg/4.5 apg), a CAA All-Defensive team member.

VCU has averaged better than 20 victories over the past four years and has earned back-to-back postseason appearances. Four starters are back from last season's 19-13 squad that reached the CAA championship game for the third time in the past four seasons. Leading the Rams is senior forward Nick George, who averaged 16.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg to garner first-team All-CAA accolades. Also returning are junior guards B.A. Walker (12.1 ppg) and Jesse Pellot-Rosa (6.6 ppg/4.7 rpg).

George Mason welcomes back all 12 letterman from its 16-12 squad that recorded double-digit wins in CAA play for the seventh year in a row. The Patriots are led by a trio of senior standouts in forward Jai Lewis and guards Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn. Lewis, a two-time All-CAA selection, averaged 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year. Butler, a second-team All-CAA member, poured in a team-high 15.7 ppg and drained a league-best 87 three-pointers. Skinn, a third-team All-CAA pick, added 14.4 points per game.

Hofstra has four starters back from its 21-9 squad of a year ago that earned an NIT berth. The Pride is led by junior guard Loren Stokes, a first-team All-CAA selection who was one of just three Division I players to rank among his conference's top 10 in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (1.8 spg). He is joined by sophomore guard Antoine Agudio, who was a unanimous pick as the CAA's Rookie of the Year after scoring 15.1 ppg and sinking a school-record 82 three-pointers.

Five of the CAA's 12 teams advanced to post-season play last season, and expectations are high in 2005-06 as 70% of the league's starters return. Included in that group are 14 players who earned all-conference honors last year, including six first-team selections.

ODU's Loughton was a near unanimous pick as the CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year. He was joined on the pre-season All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Stokes, VCU's George, Delaware senior forward Harding Nana, who led the CAA in scoring (18.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg) last season, and Northeastern senior guard Jose Juan Barea, a two-time All-America East first team selection who became the first player since 1998 to rank among the top 10 in Division I in scoring (22.2 ppg) and assists (7.3 apg) in the same season.

Voted to the pre-season second team were UNC Wilmington senior guard John Goldsberry, a first-team All-CAA member and the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, George Mason's Butler and Lewis, Hofstra's Agudio and ODU's Hunter.

2005-06 CAA MEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Old Dominion
2. VCU
3. George Mason
4. Hofstra
5. UNC Wilmington
6. Northeastern
7. Drexel
8. Delaware
9. James Madison
10. Georgia State
11. Towson
12. William & Mary

First TeamCl.Pos.Ht.Wt.Hometown/High School
Jose Juan Barea, Northeastern$Sr.G6-0170Mayaguez, Puerto Rico/Miami Christian
Nick George, VCU*Sr.F6-6205Manchester, England/Montrose Christian
Alex Loughton, Old Dominion*Sr.F/C6-9235Perth, Australia/Life Center Academy
Harding Nana, Delaware*Sr.F6-8230Douala, Cameroon/Newport School
Loren Stokes, Hofstra*Jr.G6-3175Buffalo, N.Y./St. Thomas More
 
Second TeamCl.Pos.Ht.Wt.Hometown/High School
Antoine Agudio, Hofstra^So.G6-3185Huntington Station, N.Y./Walt Whitman
Lamar Butler, George Mason#Sr.G6-2170Oxon Hill, Md./Oxon Hill
John Goldsberry, UNC Wilmington#Sr.G6-3180Vandalia, Ohio/Butler
Isaiah Hunter, Old Dominion#Sr.G6-2160Charlotte, N.C./Independence
Jai Lewis, George Mason#Sr.F6-7275Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen

CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year: Alex Loughton, Old Dominion

* 1st team All-CAA in 2004-05
$ 1st team All-America East in 2004-05
# 2nd team All-CAA in 2004-05
^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2004-05

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