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College of Charleston Favored To Win 2017-18 CAA Men's Basketbal - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

College of Charleston Favored To Win 2017-18 CAA Men's Basketball Championship

Courtesy: CofC Athletics Courtesy: CofC Athletics
CHARLESTON, SC -

College of Charleston, which returns all five starters from last year’s 25-win team, has been picked to capture the CAA men’s basketball championship in 2017-18 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members.

The Cougars were followed in the voting by Towson, Elon and Hofstra. Two-time defending CAA champion UNCW was selected fifth, followed by Northeastern, Delaware, William & Mary, Drexel and James Madison.

Charleston is coming off an impressive 25-10 campaign that included a first-ever trip to the CAA Championship game and a berth in the NIT for the first time since 2011. The Cougars are led by senior guard Joe Chealey, who earned first-team All-CAA honors after ranking fourth in the league in scoring (17.8 ppg) and eighth in assists (3.2 apg). Junior forward Jarrell Brantley received second-team All-CAA accolades after contributing 14.2 ppg and ranking third in the conference in rebounding (8.4 rpg). Also back are sophomore guard Grant Riller (13.1 ppg), who made the CAA All-Rookie team, senior guard Cameron Johnson (7.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg), a two-time member of the CAA All-Defensive Team, and junior forward Nick Harris (5.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

Towson welcomes back four starters from a squad that reached the 20-win mark (20-13) for the third time in the past four years. Senior guard Mike Morsell scored a team-high 13.4 ppg last season and picked up All-CAA third team honors for the second consecutive year. Senior guard Deshaun Morman added 9.9 ppg and was voted to the CAA All-Defensive Team after ranking fourth in the league in steals (49). Other returning starters include senior guard Brian Starr (6.0 ppg) and junior forward Alex Thomas (3.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg). The Tigers have plenty of experienced depth led by senior guard Eddie Keith II (5.1 ppg) and talented sophomore Zane Martin (5.5 ppg).

Elon has all five starters back from an 18-14 team that posted a best-ever, fourth-place finish in the CAA last year. Topping the group of returnees for the Phoenix is junior forward Tyler Seibring, who earned a spot on the All-CAA second team after scoring a team-high 14.4 ppg and ranking sixth in the league in rebounding (6.9 rpg). He’s joined up front by senior Brian Dawkins, who contributed 12.9 ppg and 5.3 rpg while shooting 51.5% from the floor. Junior guards Dainan Swoope (11.7 ppg) and Steven Santa Ana (11.7 ppg) combined to make 132 three-pointers a year ago, while senior guard Dmitri Thompson added 8.9 ppg and 5.0 rpg.

Hofstra is expected to make a move up the CAA standings as three starters return from last year’s 15-17 squad. The Pride is led by junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman, who received second-team All-CAA accolades after ranking third in the league in scoring with 18.1 ppg. Sophomore guard Eli Pemberton contributed 12.8 ppg last season and earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team. Anchoring the post is senior forward Rokas Gustys, who scored 9.2 ppg and ranked fourth in the nation with 12.1 rebounds per game. Transfers Joel Angus III and Kenny Wormley are expected to make an immediate impact.

Two-time defending CAA champion UNCW was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. The Seahawks, who are in their first season under new coach C.B. McGrath, return just one starter from last year’s 29-6 team. Junior forward Devontae Cacok averaged 12.3 ppg while shooting an NCAA-record 80% from the floor and also grabbed 9.8 rebounds per contest. He was the CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2016-17 and was selected to the all-conference third team.

CofC’s Chealey and Brantley were named to the preseason All-CAA first team, with Chealey being picked as the Preseason Player of the Year. They were joined by UNCW’s Cacok, Elon’s Seibring, Hofstra’s Wright-Foreman.

Voted to the preseason second team were Delaware sophomore guard Ryan Daly (16.0 ppg/7.4 rpg), Drexel sophomore guard Kurk Lee (14.9 ppg, 5.0 apg), Elon’s Dawkins, Hofstra’s Gustys, Towson’s Morsell and CofC’s Riller.

2017-18 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. College of Charleston (38 first-place votes)                     362

2. Towson (2 first-place votes)                                                   306

3. Elon                                                                                                   297

4. Hofstra                                                                                            236

5. UNCW                                                                                              197

6. Northeastern                                                                                159

7. Delaware                                                                                        156

8. William & Mary                                                                             120

9. Drexel                                                                                              102

10. James Madison                                                                          65

2017-18 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS

First Team                                                           Cl.           Pos.       Ht.          Wt.        Hometown/High School

Jarrell Brantley, Col. of Charleston            Jr.           F              6-7          250         Columbia, S.C./Notre Dame Prep

Devontae Cacok, UNCW                               Jr.           F              6-7          240         Riverdale, Ga./Alpharetta

Joe Chealey, Col. of Charleston                 Sr.           G             6-4          190         Orlando Fla./Apopka

Tyler Seibring, Elon                                          Jr.           F              6-8          225         Normal, Ill./Normal Community

Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra                Jr.           G             6-1          185         Queens, N.Y./High School of Construction

Second Team                                                     Cl.           Pos.       Ht.          Wt.        Hometown/High School

Ryan Daly, Delaware                                       So.          G             6-4          185         Ardmore, Pa./Archbishop Carroll

Brian Dawkins, Elon                                         Sr.           F              6-8          240         Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny

Rokas Gustys, Hofstra                                    Sr.           F/C         6-9          260         Kaunas, Lithuania/Oak Hill Academy

Kurk Lee, Drexel                                               So.          G             5-10       150         Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy

Mike Morsell, Towson                                   Sr.           G             6-5          210         Fort Washington, Md./St. John’s College HS

Grant Riller, Col. of Charleston                   So.          G             6-3          195         Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Joe Chealey, College of Charleston

Honorable Mention: Devon Begley, Sr., G, Northeastern; David Cohn, Sr., G, William & Mary; Nathan Knight, So., F, William & Mary; Jeremy Miller, Jr., F, Northeastern; Deshaun Morman, Sr., G, Towson; Eli Pemberton, So., G, Hofstra; Jordon Talley, Sr., G, UNCW

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