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Duquesne MBB Picked Fifth In A-10; Weathers, Carry Honored

Duquesne MBB Picked Fifth In A-10; Weathers, Carry Honored

PITTSBURGH– The Duquesne men’s basketball team was selected to finish fifth of 14 Atlantic 10 teams in the conference’s preseason poll as voted on by all 14 head coaches and a select media member from each school.

Additionally, Duquesne players received two honors as senior forward Marcus Weathers (14.3 ppg/6.8 rebs/82 blocks) was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team and junior guard Sincere Carry (12.2 ppg/158 assists) was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Third Team.

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Weathers made the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team after last year’s regular season in which he led the team in scoring 13 times and rebounding 15, achieving double figures 21 times. Against nationally ranked Dayton, Weathers averaged 17 points and seven rebounds, shooting at a 72% clip.

Duquesne’s fifth-place prediction is its highest placement in the preseason poll since 2010 when Duquesne returned four starters from a group which made the Atlantic 10 Championship in the previous season.

Weathers also was the first Duquesne player to earn NABC All-District honors since Bill Clark and Damian Saunders in 2011. Weathers was also named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Dec. 16 averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in victories over Columbia and Radford.

Carry led the team with his 158 assists, leading the team in helpers over 24 games. In Atlantic 10 contests, his 5.89 assists per game ranked second. Carry came up big in helping Duquesne earn its first-ever victory over Davidson scoring 14 of the team’s final 16 points in the final 7:35 and accomplished a similar feat in an overtime road victory over St. Bonaventure. In that game, he scored 14 of the final 18 points and also had 11 assists in that contest, one off the school record.

When Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot started with the program it was predicted to place last and every year since has outperformed the preseason expectation.

Below is the full preseason poll and all-conference nods.

Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll

1. Richmond (19) 380

2. Saint Louis (7) 364

3. Dayton (2) 318

4. St. Bonaventure 307

5. Duquesne 278

6. Rhode Island 248

7. Davidson 229

8. Massachusetts 192

9. VCU 175

10. George Mason 133

11. George Washington 113

12. Saint Joseph’s 85

13. La Salle 80

14. Fordham 40

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team

Kellan Grady Davidson

Jalen Crutcher Dayton

Tre Mitchell Massachusetts

Fatts Russell Rhode Island

Jacob Gilyard Richmond

Jordan Goodwin Saint Louis

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Marcus Weathers Duquesne

Blake Francis Richmond

Grant Golden Richmond

Kyle Lofton St. Bonaventure

Ryan Daly Saint Joseph’s

Hasahn French Saint Louis

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Sincere Carry Duquesne

Javon Greene George Mason

A.J. Wilson George Mason

Osun Osunniyi St. Bonaventure

Javonte Perkins Saint Louis

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland VCU

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Defensive Team

A.J. Wilson George Mason

Jacob Gilyard Richmond

Osun Osunniyi St. Bonaventure

Hasahn French Saint Louis

Jordan Goodwin Saint Louis

PSN’s Zachary Weiss was Duquesne’s media representative and below is his full ballot. As a note the voting was completed before Richmond’s Nick Sherod and Dayton’s Dwayne Cohill were announced as being out for the season.

1. Richmond- Richmond was my number one because quite frankly they are the most complete team in the conference on both sides of the ball. This holds true with Nick Sherod’s season and likely career-ending injury. Jacob Gilyard is so fun to watch because he is such an explosive two-way player. Grant Golden is a joy to watch as well and Blake Francis came in as a transfer and made an immediate impact. Richmond’s Princeton-style offense means teams have to take note in scouts and be prepared for motion, cutting action and be a disciplined unit.

2. Saint Louis- Saint Louis is certainly one of the more physical teams in the A-10. Jordan Goodwin does not take many plays off and teams have to prepare for him both on and off the ball as he is a force on the boards as well. Hasahn French is also a player opponents mark as he often grabs the shots he does miss and establishes a clear identity. Javonte Perkins excelled at scoring the basketball off the bench and the Billikens will welcome back Gibson Jimerson who shot 47% from the field in his freshman season. If Saint Louis can win on the road more in conference play (5-4) and shoot better from the free throw line (58%), then an A-10 championship is quite possible.

3. St. Bonaventure- St. Bonaventure earned the three spot here for me. Really coach Mark Schmidt does not get enough respect for the job he does every year with his Bonnies. Kyle Lofton plays nearly the entire game and does not stop. Jaren Holmes has been a natural scorer and owned the second-best field goal percentage last season. Osun Osunniyi is a post presences coaches circle because he is a special player. He was slowed by injury at times last year but still had to be taken very seriously. Dominick Welch and Justin Winston both also will be key pieces to this Bona team. The Bonnies are finally an experienced team and what’s even more impressive is that there are no seniors on this team.

4. Duquesne– Duquesne slotted fourth in my poll. Duquesne returns a lot and the depth is there. Opponents now have a small idea of what Marcus Weathers brings to the table and he is poised to build on that. He knows he will be marked in scouting reports, but his own expectations are higher than those of his coach, Keith Dambrot. Sincere Carry has no problem scoring, but would rather get his teammates involved while also being trusted to defend the opposition’s best guard. His defense has improved during the off-season. Michael Hughes is a defensive force which does not get recognized enough by the conference. His offense also makes him a tough guard. In guards Tavian Dunn-Martin and Lamar Norman Jr, Duquesne has good shooting and heart on the defensive end. Maceo Austin showed good play in the non-conference campaign and should make a jump this season. Austin Rotroff will be healthier this year and Amari Kelly will be ready to play this season. Duquesne also has nine newcomers which means that Dambrot should finally have the bodies to sub players out if they miss defensive assignments. It is unknown where Duquesne will play its home games at this time as the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse will not open until January at the earliest. Last season, Duquesne played contests at the La Roche University’s Kerr Fitness Center, PPG Paints Arena and the UPMC Events Center. Duquesne’s depth and toughest non-conference schedule in quite some time should make it a tough out come March.

5. Dayton- A lot of people will be surprised at my having Dayton fifth and believe me, I get it. Jalen Crutcher is a world-class player, Rodney Chatman guards the heck out of everyone and Ibi Watson showed flashes last year but there are too many question marks in the post game for me. St. Bonaventure has a clear post presence as does Duquesne so that was the deciding factor. The A-10 tends to be a very guard-oriented conference but Duquesne has a two-headed monster and plenty of depth behind. That is not to say one or more of the Dayton posts (R.J Blakney, Zimi Nwokeji Chase Johnson, Moulaye Sissoko and Jordy Tshimanga), can step up, there just is a better understanding and higher expectations from the two teams directly atop the Flyers in my poll. Could Dayton win the A-10? Absolutely. The talent is absolutely there no questions asked and Anthony Grant proved a lot of doubters wrong a season ago. Dayton rallied an entire city last year and had COVID-19 not existed, the season would have been even more special, but now it is time to turn the page and the Flyers will be hungry.

6. Rhode Island- It was an unenviable offseason for Rhode Island coach David Cox who returned three players from last season’s team. When one of those is Fatts Russell who averaged 18.8 points a game, totaled 138 assists and recorded 86 steals, a clear senior guard who provides leadership to build around, that certainly helps. Joining Russell and the other two returnees, Jermaine Harris and Antwan Walker are several new faces including Makhi and Makhel Mitchell both of whom transferred from Syracuse and were granted immediate eligibility. With a shorter non-conference slate it may be harder for a new-look team to thrive but perhaps less time between games will also help as this team will clearly be talented and come March could be dangerous.

7. Davidson- Davidson’s case starts with Kellan Grady who always has A-10 Player of the Year potential. He has become smarter with a basketball in his hand, understanding how much is asked of him. Luke Brajkovic shoots at a 53% clip from the field and has adjusted to being more of a top option on offense. Carter Collins will be a glue player for Davidson as he has the ability to achieve double-figure scoring totals. Hyunjung Lee enters his sophomore season ready for a jump after showing promise in his freshman season. He was able to show off his range, draining 63% of his two-point shots. A year after an injury-riddled campaign, it appears that the Wildcats have grown up a bit.

8. George Washington- This one also may surprise a lot of people but personally I see spots 8-11 as rather even, so it comes down to feel. The bottomline is this, I am a big believer in Jamion Christian, last year’s preseason poll was an introduction to that and this year clearly is no different. There is a belief that Christian tries to tailor his play calls based on personnel and creating open space. GW will need the three-point shot to fall if it is to create separation. Maceo Jack and Jamison Battle both return and provide immediate boosts in that area. Also returning are Jameer Nelson Jr, Chase Paar and Ace Stallings among others. GW is excited about James Bishop who transferred in from LSU and Matthew Moyer who played at Vanderbilt. There is a good mix of old and new that may have Foggy Bottom seeing that turning the program around may be around the corner.

9. Massachusetts- Last season was an important one for Coach Matt McCall who had to turn the direction of his program around which he seemingly was able to do. There was a lot of discussion coming in about how talented Tre Mitchell was and he lived up to that, being one of the most enjoyable watches in the conference night in and night out. He requires additional attention, but he has repeatedly shown the ability to make the right decision when those double teams arrive. T.J. Weeks will be counted on to score, while Carl Pierre was able to score and provide leadership, while minimizing mistakes. Noah Fernandes transferred from Wichita State and is expected to start at point guard.

10. VCU- VCU is sliding down after usually being one of the top few teams in the conference. A 17-6 start last season certainly proved that but injury and illnesses occurred and De’Riante Jenkins departed the team before last year, his senior campaign ended due to a family health matter. Marcus Santos-Silva an exciting two-way player opted to transfer to Texas Tech. VCU’s play starts with Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland who was the team’s most dependable player. He is expected to be a leader on this team. Corey Douglas Jr is poised for a breakout after Santos-Silva departed. Adrian Baldwin Jr, KeShawn Curry and Josh Banks are all new players that will be asked to contribute immediately. VCU will be young this year and will experience growing pains, but the potential is there.

11. George Mason- Personally looking at it now, George Mason may not be properly ranked and perhaps too much from last season’s injury-riddled campaign was taken for face value, really ninth would be the proper spot. This is the first time I have done a poll, submitted it and now have a regret, but in the spirit of transparency, this is what I submitted to the conference. George Mason returns all five starters, though that is not always a recipe for success. Still, a lot of teams in this middle-to-lower tier have lost significant pieces and George Mason is more known. It will go as A.J. Wilson goes, as he can score and also defend as evidenced by his 92 blocks, these achievements made him the Atlantic 10’s Most Improved Player. Javon Greene is another exciting player who if he can become more consistent and turn the ball over less can be a very dependable piece. Ian Boyd, Greg Calixte, Jamal Hartwell II, Xavier Johnson, Jordan Miller and Josh Oduro all return and can make contribute on either end of the floor. There also is reason excited by the incoming freshman.

12. La Salle- La Salle has made some progress under coach Ashley Howard but for each positive a road block has come. Ed Croswell’s transfer was a hit that the Explorers still seem to be working through. Look for David Beatty to assume a leadership role on this team and for him to be more consistent with his three-point shot. Scott Spencer has the ability to be a top producer and led the A-10 in three-point percentage last year but will have to be more creative with finding his shot. Ayinde Hikim, now a projected starter, will look to find more consistency. From a newcomer perspective, Jhamir Brickus is a guard who will be expected to score and be able to succeed in La Salle’s pace.

13. Saint Joseph’s- Saint Joseph’s had an extremely challenging year, dealing with unenviable circumstances with Billy Lange’s hire coming later on, all things considered in the offseason. Ryan Daly made Saint Joseph’s go scoring 20.5 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds a game and the hope now is he will not have to keep tossing up shots. Taylor Funk’s return should certainly help that as he can score and stretch defenses. Anthony Longpre’ also is an experienced piece that can grab rebounds and give you a couple of baskets. Additionally Cameron Brown is back and averaged 10.2 points a game, a figure which could increase. Dahmir Bishop will be eligible to play after transferring from Xavier. Jordan Hall is a newcomer who will be asked to play multiple positions.

14. Fordham- As good as Fordham’s defense was, its offense struggled mightily. Chuba Ohams will need to be healthy after his injured knee required surgery but scored 11 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds a game and has been counted on during his entire Rams career. Additionally Jalen Cobb has proven himself during his time as an underclassman, but now a junior, he will need to bury more shots. Joel Soriano had coach Jeff Neubauer excited going into the season but played like a freshman a year ago but came on late including during the team’s Atlantic 10 Championship victory over George Washington. Cameron Cohn and Julian Dozier are among the new faces that could help Fordham.

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team

Jordan Goodwin Saint Louis

Jalen Crutcher Dayton

Jacob Gilyard Richmond

Hasahn French Saint Louis

Fatts Russell Rhode Island

Grant Golden Richmond

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Osun Osunniyi St. Bonaventure

Marcus Weathers Duquesne

Tre Mitchell Massachusetts

Blake Francis Richmond

Kellan Grady Davidson

Kyle Lofton St. Bonaventure

 

Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Sincere Carry Duquesne

Ryan Daly Saint Joseph’s

Michael Hughes Duquesne

Malik Martin Rhode Island

A.J. Wilson George Mason

Luka Brajkovic Davidson

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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