2. William & Mary
4. James Madison
7. UNC Wilmington
10. College of Charleston
Player of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Coach of the Year: Monte Ross, Delaware
Newcomer of the Year: Arnaud-William Adala Moto, Towson
G – Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
G – Ron Curry, James Madison
F – Omar Prewitt, William & Mary
F – Terry Tarpey, William & Mary
G/F – David Walker, Northeastern
G – Ameen Tanksley, Hofstra
G – Kory Holden, Delaware
G – Luke Eddy, Elon
G/F – Arnaud William Adala Moto, Towson
G/F - Quincy Ford, Northeastern
G – Canyon Barry, College of Charleston
G – Tavon Allen, Drexel
G/F – Shakir Brown, James Madison
F – Marvin King-Davis, Delaware
F – John Davis, Towson
RIP to the old Colonial Conference, a league that produced two final four teams over the past decade (VCU & George Mason). The league has been gutted by conference realignment and postseason bans over the last 3 years, but a new wave of coaching and northeast makes the CAA perhaps the deepest it’s been since 2011, when the fighting Jim Larranagas shocked the world.
After ending the 2015 season with a 4-way tie for first, the Colonial ended up sending Northeastern to the big dance. The Huskies proceeded to ruin over a million naïve wagers on Notre Dame in the tourney’s opening 11 A.M game on Thursday morning. Northeastern enters the 2016 campaign without stud big man and low-post magician, Scott Eatheron, who gave the Irish bigs all they could handle in round 1. The Huskies do return their 2nd and 3rd scoring options from a year ago, Quincy Ford & David Walker, who should both finish the year as all-league performers. Quincy’s length makes him one of the most versatile and well-rounded players in the Colonial, but Walker is the true alpha on this team. He may be the most efficient player in the conference, finishing the year at 39% from 3 (69/176), and knocking down 86% of his 114 free throws attempts.
While Northeastern currently holds the CAA title belt, I think Hofstra is actually the team. My pick for POTY, Juan’ya Green, may be the best passer in the country, and anchors what is the most potent offense in the league. Green thrives in the open-court, where he routinely finds an array of shooters for transition 3s. The two main weapons playing alongside Green are Brian Bernardi and Ameen Tanksley. Between the two of them, they knocked down a combined 40% of their bombs last year.
Bill & Mary lose bucket-getting machine Marcus Thornton to graduation but, like Northeastern, bring back a pair of 6’5 guards in Omar Prewiit & Terry Tarpey. While Prewiit is the more polished scorer, there isn’t a single statistical category Tarpey doesn’t stuff. I can’t wait for the 2 v 2 guard showdown between the Pride and Tribe on Saturday January 23rd.
While Northeastern, Bill & Mary and Hofstra are the frontrunners on paper, James Madison and Delaware are just as capable of winning this league. The Dukes have a ton in common with the other top CAA squads, in that they are significantly better offensively than defensively. JMU’s offensive efficiency is directly reflected by the play of their do-it-all point guard, Ron Curry. After posting an outstanding 27% assist rate, to go along with a 42% 3-point stroke, Curry could challenge Green for POTY if JMU contends for the league title.
Delaware has their own budding star point guard, in rising sophomore Kory Holden. As a freshman, Holden led the Hens in minutes played, proving just how valuable head coach Monte Ross thinks he is to their future. After all the off court nonsense that has plagued this program the last two years, the Hens return everyone from a team that got significantly better throughout last year’s conference play.
Towson and UNC Wilmington round out what should be the top 8 teams in the Colonial. Towson was relentless around the rim last year, ranking 3rd in the country in BOTH offensive rebounding % and number of free throws attended. John Davis leads a slew of 6’5 6’7 men that seem to track down every missed shot.
UNC-Wilmington finds themselves in a slight state of regression, after joining the 4-way tie for first party last year. Sophomore Jordan Talley was solid in his opening campaign, and will be facilitating for a new cast of characters, as 3 starters from last year’s group have now graduated.
Finally, the CAA’s bottom-of-the-barrel should contain two Carolina schools, College of Charleston and Elon. Elijah Bryant emerged as the immediate go-to-guy for Elon, using the 3rd highest % of his teams’ possessions in the country as a freshman. He does both the scoring and playmaking, and with the departure of senior PG Austin Hamilton, he may actually be leaned on even more this year for the Phoenix. CoC returns one the league’s worst haircuts best shooters in Camron Barry, who I swear has been a start for 6 years now.