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2023-24 Atlantic 10 Preview Part One: The Bottom Feeders

The Atlantic 10 Conference experienced a down season in 2022-23, with only one team, the VCU Rams, making it to the NCAA Tournament. Last season saw the emergence of teams like Fordham and Duquesne, while perennial top-half finishers Davidson and St. Bonaventure struggled.


The 2023-24 rendition of the A10 will be split into three distinct categories: the contenders, the pretenders, and the bottom feeders. First up, the bottom feeders. The bottom five teams in the Atlantic 10 this season contain a pair of usual contenders to go along with three other programs in flux.

 

15

Projected A10 record: 4-14


Head coach Archie Miller and the Rhode Island Rams are in for another long season. The Rams lost starters (and four highest scorers) Ishmael Leggett, Malik Martin, Brayon Freeman, and Jalen Carey over the summer with heavy roster turnover. However, Miller and his staff brought in a handful of upperclassmen transfers.


Jaden House, Always Wright, and Tyson Brown headline the slew of transfers entering the program. House averaged 17.3 points per game while dropping double figures in 18-straight games at High Point last season. Wright played his freshman season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M where he averaged an impressive 14.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game. Tyson Brown averaged 11.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game at Florida Southwestern State. While these three players will make a solid impact with the Rams, Rhode Island does not have the pieces to put together a competitive team in the Atlantic 10.

 

14

Projected A10 record: 5-13


The Billikens went 12-6 in the A10 last season, finishing fourth in the conference. Although Saint Louis will get their 2022-23 leading point scorer Gibson Jimerson back, head coach Travis Ford lost his next six highest scorers. Yuri Collins, Javonte Perkins, Javon Pickett, Francis Okoro, Jake Forrester and Fred Thatch Jr. all left the program over the summer. That leaves the highest remaining scorers as Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Sincere Parker, who both averaged 5.9 points per game last season.


Ford and his staff brought in a pair of impact transfers in Tim Dalger and Michael Meadows Jr. Dalger had a solid season at Tulsa last year as he averaged 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Meadows Jr. averaged 11.0 points and 2.2 assists per game in 2022-23 at Portland. The Billikens also welcomed seven freshmen, including four international players, into the program. Saint Louis enters the season extremely young, but will likely be unable to overcome its substantial scoring losses.

 

13

Projected A10 record: 5-13


The Wildcats went 8-10 in the conference last season and suffered major losses to its starting five this summer. Leading scorer Foster Loyer and his 16.2 points per game along with Sam Mennenga’s 15.2 points per game both left the program. Desmond Watson and his 9.4 points per game also departed, leaving Davidson with only four remaining players that averaged more than one point per game.


Grant Huffman (9.4 PPG), David Skogman (7.3 PPG), Connor Kochera (6.3 PPG) and Reed Bailey (5.5 PPG) are the only remaining players who had legitimate playing time last season. Head coach Matt McKillop failed to add any impact transfers in the offseason, and only brought three freshmen to the program. It looks like a long year is ahead for the Wildcats.

 

12

Projected A10 record: 6-12


The Colonials rebranded to the Revolutionaries this offseason. The 2022-23 rendition of GW saw Chris Caputo lead his team to a 10-8 record and seventh place in the Atlantic 10 standings. James Bishop and his 21.6 points per game led the Colonials in scoring and will return to Caputo’s roster this season. However, the other half of GW’s dynamic duo, Brendan Adams, ran out of eligibility. It will be extremely difficult for the Revolutionaries to replace his 17.4 points per game.


George Washington also lost starters Ricky Lindo Jr. (10.6 points per game) and Hunter Dean (8.7 PPG). The only other remaining returner that averaged more than four points per game last season is reigning A10 Rookie of the Year Maximus Edwards, who scored at an 8.7 points per game clip in 2023. The Revolutionaries will be very young in 2023-24, as GW welcomes eight freshmen to the program. Caputo was not very busy in terms of bringing in transfers over the summer. The only transfers that could possibly make an impact are Antonie Smith Jr. and Babatunde Akingbola. Smith Jr. averaged 7.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game at Evansville last season, while Akingbola stands at 6’10’’ and previously attended Auburn.

 

11

Projected A10 record: 6-12


The Explorers finished 7-11 in A10 play last season which potted the team a 12th place finish. While La Salle did not experience as many top-end losses as some of the teams projected lower, head coach Fran Dunphy lost his second, fourth and sixth leading scorers. Josh Nickelberry along with both Fousseyni Drame and Hassan Drame graduated last spring. The trio appeared in each of the Explorers 34 games, starting the majority. Nickelberry averaged 10.9 points while Hassan averaged 6.4 points per game. Fousseyni will likely be missed most as he averaged 8.8 points and a team-high 5.3 rebounds per game.


La Salle returns a majority of its 2022-23 roster with the addition of a pair of freshman and transfers Milos Kovachevic and James Joseph. Kovachevic is the more intriguing of the two, as he averaged 6.2 points per game and shot 61.9 percent from the field at Highland Community College last season. Without much roster turnover and no major impact additions, the Explorers will be mediocre at best yet again.

 

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