University of Richmond’s men’s basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the annual preseason Atlantic 10 poll, and junior ShawnDre’ Jones and senior Terry Allen were selected to the Preseason All-Atlantic 10 Third Team.
A panel of the league’s head coaches and select media members chose the awards and poll, according to a media release.
University of Dayton, who received 12 first-place votes, was picked to finish first in the conference. The Flyers return stars Scoochie Smith and Kendall Pollard and have won five NCAA Tournament games over the past two seasons.
University of Rhode Island, led by juniors Hassan Martin and E.C. Matthews, was picked to finish second. Davidson College, George Washington University and Virginia Commonwealth University rounded out the top five.
Five juniors – Fordham University’s Mandell Thomas, GW’s Patricio Garino, Saint Joseph's University’s DeAndre' Bembry, Martin and Matthews – were selected to the Preseason All-Atlantic 10 First Team.
Allen and Jones were the only Spiders to receive recognition in the preseason awards.
Allen has been a key contributor to the Spiders’ frontcourt throughout his career. Last year, Allen finished second on the team with 13.0 points per game and led the Spiders with 6.7 rebounds per game. Despite losing Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who transferred to University of Pittsburgh for his final season of eligibility, Richmond boasts a deep frontcourt. In addition to Allen, the Spiders will rely on senior Deion Taylor, junior T.J. Cline and Marshall Wood, a transfer from Virginia Tech who has two years of eligibility remaining.
"We are a team with I think our best players in the frontcourt and our guys who have had the most experience and the most success are in the frontcourt," said coach Chris Mooney, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I think because they can handle the ball so well and feel so comfortable playing on the perimeter, I think that makes it a little bit easier for them to be part of every offensive possession."
Jones, who led the Spiders with 90 assists and 64 three-pointers and averaged 10.3 points per game last season, received the Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year award last season. Jones will be expected to take on a greater leadership role this season, as Spider great Kendall Anthony graduated and is now playing in Turkey.
Richmond returns much of its top contributors from last season, with Anthony and Nelson-Ododa being the only significant losses. The Spiders return 72.2 percent of last year’s minutes and 66.7 percent of last year’s scoring, according to a press release.
Rival VCU, who won the Atlantic 10 Tournament, beating the Spiders along the way, looks much different than it did last year. The Rams lost seniors Treveon Graham and Briante Weber, as well as former coach Shaka Smart. Smart, who won at least 26 games in each of his six seasons at VCU, accepted the head coaching position at University of Texas. Will Wade, a former assistant at VCU under Smart who most recently coached at Chattanooga, replaced Smart.
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