| ||All-Conference team|
LaMar Taylor, junior, guard, Virginia Commonwealth
Jabari Outtz, senior, guard, James Madison
Charles Stephens, sophomore, forward, Richmond
Evaldas Jocys, junior, forward, East Carolina
George Evans, junior, center., George Mason
Player of the year
Evaldas Jocys, junior, East Carolina
Newcomer of the year
Barron Thelmon, junior, UNC Wilmington
1. Virginia Commonwealth
2. James Madison
3. Old Dominion
1. George Mason
3. East Carolina
Team on the rise
Team on the fall
Did you know?In its history, nine Colonial Athletic Association players have been first or second in the league in both scoring and rebounding. Six of the first eight were players of the year, the other two were all-league selections. But Richmond's Charles Stephens became No. 9 last season and was inexplicably left off the all-CAA team in voting among media members and coaches. He was one of three players to lead his team in scoring and rebounding. The others were player of the year George Evans of George Mason and Cal Bowdler of Old Dominion -- an NBA first-round draft choice.
The league is stepping up its recruiting and Virginia Commonwealth coach Mack McCarthy thinks there is "a direct correlation" to the level of coach the league has brought in recently. "These are guys who have been through these wars," McCarthy said. His Rams receiving an early commitment from 6-5 wing Antonio Hargrove, considered a Top 100 prospect. George Mason freshman Jesse Young is considered a top-flight catch and the Patriots were on the trail of some serious international talent at summer's end.
The league's coaches picked Mason to repeat its championship and Evans to earn another player of the year award.
In an attempt to unclog its busy January-February league schedule, the CAA has moved some games to early December. It makes January and February easier, but makes for awful pre-Christmas schedules in some cases because that's often the only time a CAA team can schedule a good non-league game. UNC Wilmington, for instance, plays William & Mary on Dec. 1 and Washington on Dec. 2 (fortunately for the Seahawks, both are at home). UNCW also plays Dec. 18, 21, 23 and 28 -- all on the road. "Have a Merry Christmas," UNCW coach Jerry Wainwright said.
Non-league scheduling is big in the CAA, which desperately wants to have an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament for only the second time (Richmond went in 1986). But that's tough when only one of nine teams has an RPI in the top 100 and seven of the nine are at 164 or below. That's the bottom half of the draw, folks. Had Old Dominion held on to beat North Carolina last season, it could well have earned an at-large bid. But it didn't, so it didn't.
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