James Madison Dukes (19-14 overall, 12-6 conference)
Projected starting five:
Sr. G Ron Curry
Sr. G Winston Grays
Jr. G Jackson Kent
Jr. F Yohanny Dalembert
Jr. F Tom Vodanovich
No starters are gone from last season’s team, and the only player of any consequence who doesn’t return is F Hari Hall.
89.9 percent of scoring and 92.3 percent of rebounding
Jr. F Shakir Brown
Fr. G Kevin Kangni
Jr. G Devontae Morgan (transfer from Butler)
An impressive nine home games highlight the non-conference schedule, including five straight to close out non-conference play. They host the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic, with four games, then later host the likes of Western Michigan, Marshall, East Carolina and Northeast contender Mount St. Mary’s. They open the season at Richmond, play West Virginia in Charleston, WV, and also travel to Marshall. CAA play starts with a chance for some early momentum: three of the first four are at home, and all of the home games are against teams that will be picked in the bottom half of the conference. Right after that is a big weekend: a road trip to Northeastern and Hofstra.
Projected finish and outlook:
The Dukes appeared to be a year away last season, but were part of a four-way tie for first and now return almost everyone. No team in the conference returns as much statistically, with the inside-outside tandem of Curry and Dalembert leading the way. The latter’s development was a key, as it wasn’t a given he would make the big steps forward he did as a sophomore. Grays and Kent complement Curry well, while Vodanovich leads a front line with some depth and lineup options that include juniors Dimitrije Cabarkapa and Paulius Satkus. Curry and Kent were second and third, respectively, in three-point field goal percentage last season, so that figures to be a strong point for this team. The Dukes were not great or terrible in any one area last season, but they did have more turnovers than assists. Improvement there wouldn’t hurt their attempt to get a little further this season.