BALTIMORE, Md. – Towson, which returns four starters from last year’s 18-13 team, has been picked to win the CAA men’s basketball championship in 2013-14 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members. The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday’s CAA Basketball Media Day in Baltimore, Md.
The Tigers were followed in the voting by Drexel, CAA newcomer College of Charleston and Delaware. Picked fifth was William & Mary, followed by Northeastern, James Madison, UNCW and Hofstra.
Towson will try to build off a 2012-13 season in which it posted the biggest turnaround in NCAA history and recorded its most wins (13) and highest finish (tied 2nd) ever in CAA play. Leading the Tigers is senior forward Jerrelle Benimon, who earned CAA Player of the Year and honorable mention All-America accolades after averaging 17.1 points per game and ranking third in the nation in rebounding with 11.2 rpg. He’ll be joined in the frontcourt by senior Marcus Damas, who contributed 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. Returning in the backcourt is sophomore point guard Jerome Hairston (9.8 ppg), along with seniors Mike Burwell (9.0 ppg) and Rafriel Guthrie (8.1 ppg). The Tigers have also added sophomore guard Four McGlynn, who was the America East Rookie of the Year in 2011-12 at Vermont.
Drexel slipped to 13-18 last season as it dealt with numerous injuries to key players, but should be ready for a turnaround in 2012-13. The Dragons feature a pair of all-conference performers in the backcourt with senior Frantz Massenat and junior Damion Lee. Massenat averaged 14.7 points and 4.2 assists from the point, while Lee knocked down 62 three-pointers and was third in the CAA in scoring (17.1 ppg).
College of Charleston has its sights set on a CAA title in its inaugural year as a league member. The Cougars welcome back four starters from a 24-11 squad that reached the Southern Conference title game. Running the show is junior Anthony Stitt, who poured in 11.0 ppg and dished out 109 assists a year ago. The Cougars are blessed with plenty of experience up front, led by 6-foot-9 junior Adjehi Baru, who scored 9.8 ppg and led the SoCon in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
Delaware returns three backcourt starters from last year’s 19-14 team that finished tied for second in the CAA. Topping that trio is senior Devon Saddler, who received first-team All-CAA accolades after leading the league and ranking 18th nationally in scoring with 19.9 ppg. Junior Jarvis Threatt averaged 13.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists to earn a spot on the All-CAA third team last year.
Towson’s Benimon was voted as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. He is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Drexel’s Lee and Massenat, Delaware’s Saddler, and William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton, who averaged 18.8 ppg and led the league in 3-point shooting last season to earn a spot on the All-CAA second team.
Voted to the preseason second team were CofC’s Baru, Delaware’s Threatt, Northeastern junior forward/guard Quincy Ford (12.2 ppg/5.8 rpg), James Madison sophomore guard Andre Nation (9.3 ppg), and William & Mary senior forward Tim Rusthoven (14.4 ppg/7.0 rpg).
Towson’s Damas was named Honorable Mention All-CAA Preseason, along with Chris Fouch of Drexel and Stitt of College of Charleston.
This is the first time Towson has been selected as a Preseason favorite since it was a member of the Big South Conference in 1993.
2013-14 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
3. College of Charleston
5. William & Mary
7. James Madison
2013-14 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
|First Team||Cl.||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown/Previous School|
|Jerrelle Benimon, Towson*||Sr.||F||6-8||245||Warrenton, Va./Fauquier/Georgetown|
|Damion Lee, Drexel#||Jr.||G||6-6||195||Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall/St. Thomas More|
|Frantz Massenat, Drexel#||Sr.||G||6-4||185||Ewing, N.J./Trenton Catholic|
|Devon Saddler, Delaware*
||Sr.||G||6-2||210||Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen/Winchendon Prep|
|Marcus Thornton, William & Mary#||Jr.||G||6-4||185||Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara|
|Second Team||Cl.||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown/Previous School|
|Adjehi Baru, College of Charleston||Jr.||F||6-9||225||Abidjan, Ivory Coast/The Steward School|
|Quincy Ford, Northeastern^||Jr.||F/G||6-8||212||St. Petersburg, Fla./Gibbs|
|Andre Nation, James Madison%||So.||G||6-5||200||Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian|
|Tim Rusthoven, William & Mary^||Sr.||F||6-9||235||Winfield, Ill./Wheaton Academy|
|Jarvis Threatt, Delaware^||Jr.||G||6-2||170||Richmond, Va./Highland Springs|
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Jerrelle Benimon, Towson
Honorable Mention: Marcus Damas, Sr., F, Towson; Chris Fouch, Gr., G, Drexel; Anthony Stitt, Jr., G, College of Charleston
*1st team All-CAA in 2012-13
#2nd team All-CAA in 2012-13
^3rd team All-CAA in 2012-13
% CAA All-Rookie in 2012-13