WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 17, 2007) – George Mason, which welcomes back all five starters from last year’s 18-15 squad that advanced to the conference title game, is favored to win the CAA men’s basketball championship in 2007-08 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 ESPN Zone in Washington, D.C.
The Patriots were followed in the voting by the four CAA teams that advanced to postseason play last season - VCU, Old Dominion, Drexel and Hofstra. Picked sixth was UNC Wilmington, followed by James Madison, Northeastern, William and Mary, Delaware, Georgia State and Towson.
George Mason will try to continue the momentum from last year’s CAA Tournament that saw the Patriots become the first sixth seed in nearly a decade to reach the championship game after upsets of #3 Hofstra and #2 Old Dominion. Senior forward Will Thomas and senior guard/forward Folarin Campbell, who were starters on Mason’s Final Four team in 2006, are back to lead the Patriots. Thomas made the All-CAA second team last season after averaging 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while Campbell was a third-team All-CAA selection after scoring a team-high 13.9 points per game and dishing out 122 assists.
VCU returns three starters from its 28-7 team that set a school record for victories, captured the CAA championship and knocked off Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Running the show for the Rams will be junior guard Eric Maynor, who earned first-team All-CAA accolades after tallying 13.9 points per game and ranking fifth in the nation in assists (6.4 apg). Also back for VCU are starting senior forwards Wil Fameni (8.9 ppg/5.4 rpg) and Michael Anderson (6.4 ppg/4.9 rpg).
Old Dominion looks to build on a three-year run of success that has featured 75 victories, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth in the NIT semifinals. The Monarchs welcome back a pair of backcourt starters from last year’s 24-9 squad in seniors Brian Henderson (9.4 ppg) and Brandon Johnson (8.3 ppg/4.6 rpg).
Drexel posted its most wins in over a decade last season and earned a spot in the NIT for the fourth time in the past five years. The Dragons will build around one of the league’s top inside players in senior center Frank Elegar, who averaged 16.0 points and 6.7 rebounds to claim a spot on the All-CAA second team.
Hofstra has two starters back off last season’s 22-10 team that advanced to the NIT for the third year in a row. The Pride is led by one of the nation’s most prolific scorers in senior guard Antoine Agudio, who poured in 20.2 points per game and knocked down a school-record 100 three-pointers.
VCU’s Maynor was chosen as the CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year. He was joined on the pre-season All-CAA first team by Hofstra’s Agudio, Delaware senior forward Herb Courtney, Drexel’s Elegar and Mason’s Thomas.
Voted to the pre-season second team were George Mason’s Campbell, UNC Wilmington senior guard T.J. Carter, James Madison junior forward Juwann James, ODU’s Johnson and UNCW senior center Vladimir Kuljanin.
2007-08 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. George Mason
3. Old Dominion
6. UNC Wilmington
7. James Madison
9. William and Mary
11. Georgia State
2007-08 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PRE-SEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
||Hometown/High School |
|Antoine Agudio, Hofstra*
||Huntington Station, N.Y./Walt Whitman |
|Herb Courtney, Delaware#
||Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham |
|Frank Elegar, Drexel#
||Bronx, N.Y./St. Raymond's |
|Eric Maynor, VCU*
||Raeford, N.C./Westover |
|Will Thomas, George Mason#
||Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph |
||Hometown/High School |
|Folarin Campbell, George Mason^
||Silver Spring, Md./Springbook |
|T.J. Carter, UNC Wilmington%
||Mechanicsville, Md./Chopticon |
|Juwann James, James Madison
||Jacksonville, Fla./Raines |
|Brandon Johnson, Old Dominion
||Orlando, Fla./Edgewater |
|Vladimir Kuljanin, UNC Wilmington
||Toronto, Canada/Forest Hills Collegiate |
CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year: Eric Maynor, VCU
Honorable Mention: Brian Henderson, Sr., G, Old Dominion; Todd Hendley, Sr., F, UNC Wilmington; Abdulai Jalloh, Jr., G, James Madison; Matt Janning, So., G/F, Northeastern; Leonard Mendez, Jr., G, Georgia State
* 1st team All-CAA in 2006-07
# 2nd team All-CAA in 2006-07
^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2006-07
% 3rd team All-CAA in 2005-06 (injured last season)