PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Nathaniel Lester • Hofstra
Sr., G, 6-5, 210 - Brooklyn, N.Y./Canarsie


After sitting out last season due to injury, Lester made an impressive return in Hofstra’s 89-71 win over defending NEC champ Long Island last Friday. The senior guard poured in a career-high 33 points, grabbed five rebounds and made three steals. He was 9-of-15 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and also hit 12-of-14 at the line. Lester is the first Hofstra player other than Charles Jenkins to reach the 30-point mark since the 2007-08 season.
 
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Reggie Spencer • Northeastern
Fr., F, 6-7, 210 - Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest


Spencer came off the bench to contribute 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in 27 minutes as Northeastern rallied for an 82-74 overtime win at defending America East champ Boston University last Friday. The freshman forward was 7-of-8 from the floor and scored 12 of his 16 points after halftime. Spencer is the first NU player to record a double-double in his collegiate debut since Chaisson Allen on Nov. 11, 2007.

CONFERENCE NOTES:

Three CAA Teams Receive Votes In National Polls: Three CAA teams received votes in national rankings released on Nov. 14. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, George Mason picked up 11 points, Drexel had five points and VCU got three points. In the Associated Press media poll, Drexel had 13 points and George Mason got three points.

Tournament Time: Nine CAA teams will be competing in tournament action this week. Tonight, George Mason faces FIU in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off, while Towson visits #18 Michigan in its second game in the Maui Invitational and Georgia State plays Florida Atlantic in the final game of the World Vision Classic. Hofstra travels to Oregon State in the first game of the Legends Classic on Wednesday and VCU matches up with Seton Hall in the first game of the Charleston Classic on Thursday. Over the weekend, Drexel faces Norfolk State in the first round of the Paradise Jam, Old Dominion meets USF to start the Hall of Fame Tournament, William & Mary plays three more games in the 2K Classic and James Madison is at La Salle in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.

Career Bests For Several Players On Opening Night: Several players set scoring bests in season-opening games last weekend. Hofstra senior Nathaniel Lester scored a career-best 33 points in a win over LIU, Mason senior Ryan Pearson scored a career-high 28 points in a win over Rhode Island, JMU guard Humpty Hitchens netted a career-best 26 points in a win over Canisius, VCU’s Troy Daniels (22 pts) and Juvonte Reddic (19 pts) set career-highs in a win over St. Francis (Pa.) and Georgia State’s Rashaad Richardson had a career-best 21 points in a loss at Washington.

Newcomers Make Immediate Impact: Newcomers made an immediate impact in last weekend’s opening games. UNCW freshman Adam Smith hit five treys and scored a team-high 23 points at Maryland, JMU junior A.J. Davis, a transfer from Wyoming, tallied 23 points in a win over Canisius, Northeastern freshman Reggie Spencer posted a double-double (16 pts/11 reb) in a victory at Boston U., Towson freshmen Kris Walden and Marcus Damas scored 11 apiece in a loss at #13 Kansas and W&M’s Marcus Thornton scored 13 points in a setback at Hampton.

Early Wake-Up Call
: Drexel will be the last CAA team to open its season when it faces Rider at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Four CAA Teams In Mid-Major Top 25 Poll: Four CAA teams were ranked in the preseason Mid-Major Top 25 poll released on Oct. 31 by CollegeInsider.com. George Mason led the group of CAA squads at #7, while Drexel was ranked #10, VCU was ranked #13 and Old Dominion was ranked #16. Hofstra was among others receiving votes. The CAA led all conferences with four teams in the Top 25. The Missouri Valley, Horizon League, and West Coast all had three teams in the poll. A new poll will be released on Monday night.

DELAWARE

•    Fell 58-54 at Radford in their season opener last Friday. It was UD’s sixth consecutive season-opening loss.

•    Sophomore guard Devon Saddler, the 2010-11 CAA Rookie of the Year, scored a team-high 18 points at RU but shot 5-of-22 from the field.
 
•    Junior forward Jamelle Hagins contributed 17 points, a team-high nine rebounds and three blocks at RU. Hagins made the CAA All-Defensive team in 2010-11.

•    Freshmen Jarvis Threatt and Khalid Lewis started in their first collegiate games. Threatt played 37 minutes and Lewis played 30. Fellow freshman Larry Savage added six points and six rebounds off the bench.
 
•    The Blue Hens shot just 28.8% (15-52) from the floor at Radford and hit only 2-of-14 from 3-point range.

DREXEL

•    Senior forward Samme Givens made the All-CAA second team last season after leading the league in rebounding (10.1 rpg). He also scored 12.2 ppg and was the only player in the CAA to average a double-double.
 
•    Givens enters the season ranked 7th on Drexel’s career rebounding list with 776. He has a chance to become only the 6th player in CAA history to reach 1,000 career boards.

•    Junior guard Chris Fouch was chosen to the All-CAA third team last season after being named the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2009-10.
 
•    Fouch only started two of 31 games last season, but led the Dragons in scoring with 14.9 ppg. Fouch, who has 126 career 3-pointers, has scored double figures in 40 of his 61 career contests.

GEORGE MASON

•    Edged Rhode Island 92-90 in overtime in their season opener. It was Mason’s 15th consecutive victory at the Patriot Center.

•    Senior forward Ryan Pearson posted a double-double aganst URI with a career-high 28 points and 12 rebounds.

•    Pearson is one of 15 players in Mason history with more than 1,000 points (1,092) and 500 rebounds (547) in a career.

•    Sophomore Sherrod Wright, who sat out last season due to injury, poured in 17 points in his return to the lineup. Wright was 8-of-13 from the floor and also snared five rebounds.

•    Guard Vertrail Vaughns also scored 17 points in his first collegiate start. He added five rebounds and five assists.

•    Mason has made nine postseason appearances in the past 13 years, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament since 2006.

GEORGIA STATE

•    Lost 91-74 to host Washington and 66-61 to Portland in the first two games of the World Vision Classic in Seattle. GSU faces Florida Atlantic in the final game tonight.

•    Sophomore Rashaad Richardson scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-10 3-point shooting versus UW. His seven treys tied for the 6th-most in GSU history and his 70% 3-point accuracy tied the 3rd-best effort in school history.

•    Richardson, who scored his 21 points in 27 minutes off the bench, made just seven field goals all last season while playing 105 total minutes.
 
•    Senior Brandon McGee contributed a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds against Portland. McGee is averaging a team-best 15.5 ppg through the first two contests.

•    GSU took a 52-49 lead on Portland before the Pilots closed the game on a 17-9 run over the final 6:29.

HOFSTRA

•    Rolled past defending NEC champ Long Island 89-71 in their home opener last Friday.

•    Senior Nathaniel Lester, who sat out last season due to injury, poured in a career-high 33 points. Lester became the first Hofstra player other than Charles Jenkins to top the 30-point mark since 2007-08.
 
•    Senior Mike Moore added 23 points on 7-of-9 FG shooting. Moore has scored double figures in 24 of his last 25 games dating back to last season and 12 in a row.

•    Senior Dwan McMillan, who missed much of last season with an injury, came off the bench to dish out a career-high 10 assists in 25 minutes.
 
•    Hofstra scored 57 points in the second half versus LIU on 15-of-21 (71.4%) FG shooting.

•    Hofstra meets Oregon State for the first time ever on Wednesday in the first game of the Legends Classic. It’s the Pride’s longest road trip of the season.

JAMES MADISON

•    Defeated Canisius 82-73 in their home opener last Sunday. It was JMU’s first season-opening victory in four years under coach Matt Brady, who had faced Top 25 foes in his three previous openers.
 
•    Senior guard Humpty Hitchens poured in a career-high 26 points. Also had six rebounds, two assists and two steals. It was the first 20-point effort of his JMU career.

•    Junior guard A.J. Davis, a transfer from Wyoming, added 23 points in his Dukes’ debut. Davis scored 22 points over the final 25 minutes of the game.
 
•    Senior forward Julius Wells chipped in 13 points, which was his 73rd career game scoring double figures. Wells leads all active CAA players with 1,324 career points.

•    Freshman guard Arman Marks contributed seven points, five rebounds and two steals in 27 minutes in his collegiate debut.

UNCW

•    Dropped a 71-62 at Maryland in their opening game last Sunday. It was UNCW’s third straight season-opening setback.

•    Freshman guard Adam Smith scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed five rebounds in his collegiate debut. Smith, who was 5-of-9 from 3-point range, was the only UNCW player in double digits at Maryland.

•    Freshmen accounted for 46 of the Seahawks’ 62 points against the Terps.

•    Junior Keith Rendleman was limited to five points at Maryland but grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Rendleman was fifth in the CAA in rebounding (7.8 rpg) a year ago.

•    UNCW held the Terps to 0-for-9 three-point shooting in the game.
 
•    UNCW has one of the league’s youngest teams with just two seniors and two juniors. The Seahawks have three sophomores and a nine-man freshmen class.

NORTHEASTERN

•    Got past defending America East champ Boston Univ. 82-74 in overtime in their opener last Friday. It was NU’s second straight-opening victory over the Terriers.

•    Junior Joel Smith scored a team-best 20 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds at BU for his first career double-double.
 
•    Freshman Reggie Spencer had a double-double in his first collegiate game with 16 points on 7-of-8 FG shooting and 11 rebounds. He is the first NU player to open his career with a double-double since Chaisson Allen in 2007.

•    Sophomore Alwayne Bigby, who missed much of last season due to injury, scored seven points and tied his career high with eight rebounds at BU.
 
•    Senior Kashief Edwards, a transfer from Niagara, scored eight points in his Huskies’ debut.

OLD DOMINION

•    Lost 63-46 to Missouri Valley power Northern Iowa in their home opener last Friday.

•    Kent Bazemore was the lone ODU player in double figures with 17 points. The senior guard, who is the CAA Preseason Player of the Year, also had four rebounds and three steals in his first significant action since recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.
 
•    Senior forward Chris Cooper grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Cooper had 10 or more boards three times during the 2010-11 campaign.

•    Freshman Jason Pimentel had a solid collegiate debut with eight points, six rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes of action off the bench.
 
•    ODU became the first team in nearly a decade to capture back-to-back CAA championships last season. The Monarchs have earned four NCAA Tournament berths in the last seven years.

TOWSON

•    Fell 100-54 at #13 Kansas in their season opener last Friday. The Tigers face another nationally ranked foe on Monday as they visit #18 Michigan.

•    Senior Robert Nwankwo, who sat out last season, posted a double-double at KU with team-highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds. It was his 10th career double-double.
 
•    Freshman guard Kris Walden contributed 11 points, two assists and two steals from the point in his collegiate debut. Rookie forward Marcus Damas also had a strong effort with 11 points and seven rebounds.

•    Despite the loss, Towson out-rebounded Kansas, 35-32.
 
•    Towson started three freshmen at KU and all six freshmen saw action. The Tigers are the only school in the nation to return just one letterwinner off its 2010-11 roster and one of only three schools with no returning starters.

VCU

•    Held off St. Francis (PA) 63-57 in their season opener last Friday. The game was played before a sellout crowd of 7,617.

•    Junior guard Troy Daniels made five 3-pointers and poured in a career-best 22 points. He also had six rebounds and two steals.
 
•    Sophomore forward Juvonte Reddic set new career-highs with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. It was the first career double-double for Reddic, who made 8-of-12 shots from the field.

•    The win over St. Francis was VCU’s ninth straight victory in a season opener.
 
•    Senior forward Bradford Burgess made his 111th consecutive start, which is the most of any active player in the nation.

*    Sophomore center D.J. Haley grabbed a career-high eight rebounds in 19 minutes, including five offensive boards.

WILLIAM & MARY

•    Fell 74-59 at St. John’s last Monday in the first round of the 2K Classic and were beaten 73-58 at Hampton on Saturday.

•    Senior Quinn McDowell averaged 19.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg last week. McDowell had 20 points and eight boards at SJU and 18 points and six caroms at Hampton.
 
•    McDowell moved up to No. 15 on W&M’s all-time scoring list with 1,259 points.

•    Freshman Marcus Thornton averaged 9.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg in his first two games with the Tribe. He scored 11 of his 13 points at Hampton in the second half.
 
•    Sophomore Julian Boatner averaged 11.5 ppg last week and is contributing 11.7 ppg over his last 12 games dating back to last season.

•    W&M hit 11 treys at St. John’s, which was the 48th time under coach Tony Shaver they have hit double-digit threes in a game.