Oct. 28, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's has been picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, according to a poll of Atlantic 10's head coaches and media released Tuesday during Basketball Media Day. Senior Ahmad Nivins was named to the Preseason All-Conference First Team while junior Garrett Williamson was named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.
The Hawks return three starters from last year's squad that went 21-13 (9-7 A-10) and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Nivins is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the Hawks (14.4 ppg., 5.8 rpg.), and has been the A-10's field goal percentage leader the past two seasons. Williamson was the Hawks' sixth man last season and the team's top perimeter defender.
After winning a program-record 30 contests and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, Xavier (30-7/14-2) has been tabbed as the team to beat in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball race. The Musketeers received 44 of the 61 first-place votes cast by the panel of coaches and media members. Temple (21-13/11-5) and received 12 first-place votes to place second in the preseason poll. Dayton (23-11/8-8) was picked third and earned three first-place votes.
Charlotte (20-14/9-7) earned a pair of first-place votes and was selected fifth in the poll, while Massachusetts (25-11/10-6) was picked sixth. Saint Louis (16-15/7-9) was tabbed seventh, followed by Richmond (16-15/9-7), Rhode Island (21-121/7-9), La Salle (15-17/8-8), George Washington (9-17/5-11), Duquesne (17-13/7-9), Fordham (12-17/6-10) and St. Bonaventure (8-22/2-14).
Joining Nivins on the Preseason First Team is Xavier's Derrick Brown, Dionte Christmas of Temple, Kevin Lisch of Saint Louis and Massachusetts' Chris Lowe. The second team consists of Wright, George Washington's Rob Diggs, Ricky Harris of Massachusetts, Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis and Charlotte's Lamont Mack. On the third team are C.J. Anderson of Xavier, Richmond's Kevin Anderson, Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, La Salle's Rodney Green and David Gonzalvez of Richmond. Williamson was joined on the preseason All-Defensive team by Brown, Lisch, Lowe, and Lavoy Allen of Temple. The All-Rookie team is comprised of Melquan Bolding of Duquesne, Dayton's Paul Williams and Xavier teammates Kenny Frease, Terrell Holloway and Mark Lyons.
The top 12 teams will advance to the 33rd Annual Atlantic 10 Championship, to be held March 11-14 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Last season marked the 14th time in Conference history and fifth since 2000 that multiple A-10 teams earned at-large berths (Saint Joseph's, Xavier) to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. In addition, Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts and Rhode Island advanced to the NIT and Richmond earned a berth in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.