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2015-16 CAA Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

In a conference that has seen lots of changes recently, the CAA got news of one more big one this past off-season. Tom Yeager, the only commissioner the conference has known, will retire at the end of the academic year. There is a time and place for reflection on what he has built, along with his place as a well-respected influencer in college basketball, and that will come. A more pressing question is: what kind of conference will he leave behind?

An unfortunate part of his legacy will be that the CAA was hit hard by conference realignment more than once, and that can’t be pinned on him. The first time, just after the new century, put the conference in danger, but it survived and subsequently thrived after adding strong members from another conference. More recently, however, the conference was among the hardest hit, watching signature programs George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU leave along with Georgia State, who had just turned a corner after an otherwise uninspiring tenure in the conference. Two of those four left to play Division I-A football.

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James Madison Dukes 2015-16 Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Conference Notes

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

Important departures:

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)

Schedule Highlights:

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.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 11, 2015

by - Published November 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish

We’re now just two days from opening day, and  Hoopville continues our preseason look at all 32 NCAA Division I conferences.

Only two single-bid leagues won an NCAA Tournament game last year in the round of 64, and Conference USA was one of them. UAB stunned Iowa State as a 14 seed, and that game could be a precursor to big things for the Blazers this year. UAB is the favorite and is led by guard Robert Brown and sophomore forward William Lee, who should get better and better. Old Dominion has C-USA’s best player, though, in Trey Freeman, and the Monarchs could be right on the NCAA doorstep again if they can find some interior scoring. Also watch Middle Tennessee State if it can improve on its 41.4% shooting last year.
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2014-15 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published June 9, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

In a year full of competitive conference races, the Colonial Athletic Association fit right in while still being under the radar. It didn’t have a seven-way tie at the top at one point, like the Big South did or three games separating first from tenth like the Patriot League did for a lot of the season, but it did produce its own great result: a four-way tie for the regular season title.

The conference wasn’t top-heavy, either. Another team was two games back of the top four and two more teams another game back. The six losses by the top four teams were tied for the most by a regular season champion in CAA history and marked the first time in 18 years that the regular season champion had more than four losses. Drexel was 9-9 in CAA play and had to play on opening night of the conference tournament. The other 9-9 team, Delaware, knocked off three of the four teams that tied for first during the season.

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2014-15 CAA Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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James Madison Dukes 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes

James Madison Dukes (11-20 overall, 6-10 conference)




Projected starting five:

Jr. G Andre Nation
Jr. G Ron Curry
So. G-F Jackson Kent
So. F Paulius Satkus
S0. F Yohanny Dalembert

Important departures:

The Dukes lost three starters, two of whom they didn’t initially expect to lose: F Taylor Bessick (transferred to Iona), F Andrey Semenov and G Charles Cooke (transferred to Dayton)


52.2 percent of scoring and 48.9 percent of rebounding


Jr. G Winston Grays (transfer from Cincinnati State)
Fr. F Hari Hall
Fr. G Joey McLean
Fr. G Matt Risse
Fr. G Dante Sterling
So. G Shawn Wilborne

Schedule Highlights:

A year after playing just two non-conference home games, the Dukes will play ten at home, including the first five of the season. They open with a visit from Virginia, then host Big South contender Radford and later host Richmond, MEAC contender Norfolk State and Valparaiso. Three of the home games are in the Buckeye Classic, an event where they will travel to Columbus to play Ohio State as well. About halfway through CAA play, the Dukes play three straight at home before going on the road for the next three games.

Projected finish and outlook:

At first glance, it doesn’t look promising for head coach Matt Brady. He’s in the second year of a two-year contract, and transfers and disciplinary matters are not helping from a personnel standpoint. The Dukes lost their exhibition game, which could be a sign of major growing pains ahead. Nation and Tom Vodanovich have each been suspended for early games, and Nation is on thin ice as this is not his first suspension. The Dukes have a lot of room for growth, and they don’t have much time, especially since the non-conference slate, while home-heavy, has some land mines. Curry has become one of the conference’s best guards, and when Nation is with him they are a solid combination, especially defensively. Kent showed promise, but now must turn that into some production, as must Dalembert. Satkus might be the most ready for a bigger role among the sophomores. The Dukes were a reasonably good defensive team last season, though they weren’t as good in the latter part of the season. They can’t afford a slip like that this time around.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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James Madison Dukes 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes

James Madison Dukes (21-15 overall, 11-7 conference)




Projected starting five:

So. G Andre Nation
So. G Ron Curry
So. G Charles Cooke
Sr. F Andrey Semenov
S0. F Taylor Bessick

Important departures:

The Dukes were a very experienced team last season, and gone from that team are four starters: G Devon Moore (11.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.3 spg), G A.J. Davis (12.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 spg), F Rayshawn Goins (12.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and G-F Alioune Diouf (4.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg)


36.2 percent of scoring and 30.4 percent of rebounding


Fr. F Yohanny Dalembert
Fr. G-F Kent Jackson
Fr. F Ivan Lukic
Fr. F Tom Rivard
Fr. F Paulius Satkus
Fr. F Tom Vodanovich

Schedule Highlights:

Dukes fans had best enjoy non-conference home games while they can, because there are only two of them plus an exhibition game: Detroit in mid-November and Ball State to close out 2013. They hit the road for games at Virginia, Valparaiso and Richmond, while playing in three in-season events: Northern Illinois Tournament (three games), E-Tech Lumberjack Classic (two games) and the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic against Hampton at the Richmond Coliseum. In CAA play, they have a brutal stretch of four games in eight days in February: at Towson, at Drexel, Hofstra and at Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

Last year, things finally broke in James Madison’s favor just enough, and a very experienced team took home the CAA title. Now the Dukes basically start over with a team that has 12 freshmen and sophomores and no true seniors (Semenov is a graduate student who got a sixth year of eligibility). With Nation suspended for the first 15 games, players like Lukic and Kent Jackson will get more of an opportunity right away than they would have otherwise. While that won’t help early on, it could help down the road as they develop another player or two earlier than they might have planned. It also means Cooke, who improved nicely at the end of last season, and Curry will have to lead the way on the perimeter. Bessick should slide into a starting spot up front, as he has improved greatly since last season, and other freshmen will back him up. Semenov offers tangibles such as shooting and intangibles such as his experience with adversity and success in his career, and this team will need every bit of both. They will also need to take better care of the ball, and early practice has borne that out as a major concern. There will be some serious growing pains for this team, especially early on, but there are a lot of options with all the size they have and a good talent base, so while the outlook isn’t good overall this season, the future looks brighter and it wouldn’t shock anyone if the Dukes knock off someone they shouldn’t late in the season.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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James Madison Dukes 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes

James Madison Dukes (12-20 overall, 5-13 conference)




Projected starting five:

Sr. G Devon Moore
Sr. G A.J. Davis
Sr. F Andrey Semenov
Sr. F Rayshawn Goins
Sr. C Gene Swindle

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season’s team: G Humpty Hitchens (14.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.7 apg) and F Julius Wells (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg)


73.6 percent of scoring and 85.4 percent of rebounding


Fr. F Taylor Bessick
Fr. F Dimitrije Cabarkapa
Fr. G Charles Cooke
Fr. G Ron Curry
Fr. G Andre Nation

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference slate has some challenges but also some winnable games that would get this veteran team going. They open with the Legends Classic at UCLA and at Duquesne and later play in the Las Vegas Classic against San Jose State and San Diego. The Dukes also take on Richmond at home and head to Miami (Ohio), and they close the non-conference slate at Florida Atlantic. They will be challenged at the end of CAA play as three of the last four are on the road, but a three-game homestand in the middle of the slate could help.

Projected finish and outlook:

Last year was one to forget for the Dukes, and Matt Brady will get at least one more year to get this team going. He comes back with a veteran team, and that term isn’t being used lightly as they have five fifth-year seniors. As Brady noted at media day, they have to use that experience to their advantage. The perimeter can be excellent, as Moore has shown himself to be a good player and leader but now has to take that to another level, while Davis can score and Semenov has battled injuries constantly through his career but is as tough and competitive as they come. Goins and Swindle can give them production inside, with Goins now in better shape. Curry, Cooke and Nation will be too good to keep on the bench for long, and perhaps one benefit of all the injuries last season is that some of the projected reserves this season (Enoch Hood and Arman Marks come to mind) are better since they will be more experienced than had the injuries not happened. The Dukes are a true wild card in that one doesn’t know what to expect based on a lot of conflicting data; this is a team that could wind up in the top three just as easily as they could be in tenth place, but the veteran makeup of this team is reason to think they’re more likely to wind up near the former and quite possibly higher than this selection.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

Back to CAA preview

James Madison fights the injury bug together and to the end

by - Published March 3, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

RICHMOND, Va. – Perhaps it’s amazing that James Madison had any fight in the first place on Friday. A team torn apart by injuries, the Dukes started off Friday’s first round game well, but once they got behind it seemed like their will was taken away from them. Given what they’ve been through this season, it’s hard to blame them as their season ended with a 70-59 loss to UNCW in the first round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

“This season hasn’t been the season that we wanted,” senior guard Humpty Hitchens said in what was surely an understatement.

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Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

November 13, 2015 by


As year three of the new-look Big East tips off, the conference looks the same in a few ways. In other ways, though, it’s not the same, and much is to be determined.

Though a contender, Purdue will need to earn more relevance

October 15, 2015 by


Purdue has the makings of a contender in Big Ten play, but you wouldn’t know it from the conversations about the conference teams. The Boilermakers will have to earn their way to relevance despite their potential to contend.

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
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Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.